A day in the life of a dancer on America’s most popular holiday show

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes is in its 89th season at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

From their iconic toy soldier routine to their reindeer costumes, the Rockettes are one of the most recognizable professional dance groups in the world.

During the holiday season, the Rockettes may perform up to four shows per day, or up to 160 times per show.

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Sarah Grooms Hoge is a 14-year Rockette veteran from Columbus, Ohio.

In an interview, Grooms Hoge revealed not just her background, but a typical day in the life of a Rockette.

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“I’ve been dancing since I was three years old and I’ve been Rockette for 14 seasons,” she said.

“It’s what I love to do. It’s what excites me.”

After arriving in New York at just 11 to see her first-ever dance teacher perform as the Rockette, Grooms Hoge said she knew that was what she wanted to do, too.

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“I knew from then on that being a Rockette was what I really wanted to do,” she said.

The Ohio native auditioned for her first season just days before her high school graduation.

She got the call shortly after she got the job – and knew she would change her post-grad plans and move to New York.

“My world has changed forever,” she said.

Grooms Hoge said his typical day reflected what the show schedule looked like that day.

The Rockette is one of 84 members and is part of the early matinee cast, which means she starts her day early in the morning.

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“I’m a morning person. So wake up, make some breakfast, make some coffee at home, put those headphones on [the] subway, take the train to work, then sit in our changing rooms and get ready,” she said.

Grooms Hoge usually heads to the iconic Radio City Music Hall an hour and a half before her first show of the day – saying she likes to catch up with other performers in the locker room.

The performers do their own hair and makeup, including the famous “twist” hairstyle that Grooms Hoge said she could do pretty quickly at this point.

From there, the performer said she and all the other Rockettes needed to warm up before the show.

“Sometimes it’s like doing a little ballet barre or yoga before the morning,” she said.

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“Something to get your heart rate up and do some cardio.”

After warming up and reading his notes from the last performance, it’s showtime.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular lasts 90 minutes. It features nine Rockettes numbers – an additional number was added to the lineup in 2021.

Between shows, Grooms Hoge said some performers eat a snack, take a nap, or simply recover before the next show.

“You still have to make sure you take care of your body because we do 15-17 shows a week per cast,” she said.

When performances are over for the day, Grooms Hoge said she usually takes an ice bath or gets a massage to help rinse off her legs after a long day.

“So wake up and do it again tomorrow,” she said with a smile.

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During the offseason, Grooms Hoge said she was going to school, earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Harvard Extension School while teaching fitness and dance.

“I love what I do and [am] so, so lucky to be so passionate…and to have this lifelong love for dance and movement and specifically, the Rockettes.”

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