Trouble in Rockette Land

“Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”


The average Radio City Rockette is 5’8” tall. I am, and probably will be from now on, several inches shorter than that average. So you can imagine how pathetic I felt standing in line with possible future Rockettes to audition for the Rockette Summer Intensive.

Usually, I would jump at the chance to grab a Starbucks so early in the morning. But my stomach was turning so violently that I couldn’t even think about ingesting anything. My feet shuffled mindlessly as the line moved forward: left foot, right foot, left foot…

Right shoulder?

I looked up. I happened to be standing under the one and only tree growing out of the cement sidewalk—the sidewalk that I wished I could melt into at that moment. The bird that had just dropped a sticky, wet bomb on my shoulder sat triumphantly on a branch. Here I was, smashed in between girls with legs as long as I was tall, with a steaming, white stain on the front of my black cotton leotard.

Panic hit me like a yellow cab on the city streets. How was I—a short, shy, shaky girl—supposed to face the most prestigious dance group in the country with bird droppings on my leotard? I was a few girls away from the door. My heart leaped up my throat, out of my chest, and into my hands as I searched...

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