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Following in the steps of a former Rockette

Dancer and instructor Erin Kernion with Kidsday reporters

Dancer and instructor Erin Kernion with Kidsday reporters Caroline Jonassen, left and Sara Schroeder at Leggz Ltd. Dance School. Credit: Samy Carrell

Erin Kernion, a ballet teacher at Leggz Ltd. Dance, dances ballet professionally at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. She is also a former Rockette.

We are lucky to be trained by dancers with incredible talent and experience. Miss Erin is one of our favorite teachers, and we were excited to sit down with her to ask her some questions about her career.

Miss Erin told us that she started dancing at the age of 3 in Louisiana. Her mom was a professional dancer, and their house was always filled with dance. Miss Erin wanted to be just like her mom. When asked if she had originally wanted to be a Rockette or if she wanted to be a ballet dancer, Miss Erin explained that at first she was only interested in ballet. She tried musical theater, and one of her choreographers suggested that she should audition to be a Rockette.

Miss Erin told us she was a Rockette for seven years. She signed the Christmas show contract seven times and the summer show contract once. When we told Miss Erin that we were interested in the Rockette audition process, she explained how it operated. She told us that the audition starts with about 500 women, and over the course of two days, the number fell to about 40. Miss Erin said that while she was auditioning, she felt overwhelmed, but she was also very focused on what she was learning and what she was being asked to do.

Miss Erin admitted to us that to her, the most difficult part about being a Rockette was getting through a 16-show week. However, meeting young dancers and inspiring them to follow their dreams was her favorite part of being a Rockette. We asked Miss Erin how being a Rockette influenced her as a dancer, and she told us that it taught her to pick up choreography quickly and showed her what a strong dancer she is. Miss Erin advises any dancers auditioning to be a Rockette to take as many dance classes as possible. They should get familiar with the Rockette performances so they have an idea of what to expect.

When we asked her, she explained that although she was a Rockette and performed tap dances for so many years, her favorite type of dance will always be ballet. Even though she has already accomplished so much during her dancing career, we asked Miss Erin what her next dance goal is. She said that she plans to be on Broadway.

Now that Miss Erin is a ballerina at the Met, she misses being a Rockette once in a while. But she has other dance goals and made the exciting decision to stick with ballet. 

Sam Carrell and Joan MacNaughton’s dancers, Leggz Ltd. Dance, Rockville Centre

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