Marie Claire reports:
The dancer next to Mary was crying. Tears streamed down her face through all 90 minutes of their world-famous Christmas Spectacular as they kicked and pirouetted and hit mark after mark on the glittering Radio City Music Hall stage. This was Thursday, three days before Christmas, the day the Rockettes discovered they’d been booked to perform at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. “She felt she was being forced to perform for this monster,” Mary told MarieClaire.com in an exclusive interview. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable standing near a man like that in our costumes,” said another dancer in an email to her colleagues.
Mary is, for obvious reasons, a pseudonym. Over the last few days, the dancers have proven their loyalty to the organization by refusing interview request after interview request—some have even had journalists show up unannounced at their homes trying to get them to talk. “But they’re afraid of losing their jobs if they do,” she says. For Mary? “If I had to lose my job over this, I would. It’s too important. And I think the rest of the performing arts community would happily stand behind me.”
She and other dancers are concerned about tarnishing the Rockettes’ brand forever. “This is making our show, our job, our name, branded as right-wing. An extreme right-wing,” Mary says. “There’s a reason why everyone else is turning this down. Why are we not?”
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue—this is a women’s rights issue,” she continues. “This is an issue of racism and sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics. We walk into work and everyone has different political views. The majority of the stage crew are Trump supporters; there’s a ‘Make America Great Again’ bumper sticker on the crew doors at the side of the stage.”
But the majority of the staff skews liberal, she says, especially considering the many LGBT employees at Radio City. “It’s the ensemble. It’s the people in our wardrobe and hair department, some of whom are transgender,” she says. “These are our friends and our family, who we’ve worked with for years. It’s a basic human-rights issue. We have immigrants in the show. I feel like dancing for Trump would be disrespecting the men and women who work with us, the people we care about.”
After a social media backlash, the Rockettes’ union decided that performing for Trump would be voluntary. But according to above-quoted cast member, dancers still fear losing their jobs if they don’t perform. Hit the link for much more.