After 17 years of dancing her way to becoming a Radio City Rockette, Malverne resident Kristen Smith, 20, will finally join the world’s most famous kick line as part of the company’s two-month residency in Nashville this November.
“Not too many 20-year-olds can say that they’ve got their dream job,” Smith said. “I’m more than thrilled to be with the Rockettes this season and to be given this opportunity.”
Last May, Smith — a junior dance major at The Boston Conservatory who trained in jazz, tap, ballet, pointe and hip-hop at Tap to Pointe Dance Center in Malverne — scored an open call audition among 500 other dancers to perform with the Rockettes’ national troupe in this year’s Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ol’ Opry, which runs from Nov. 16 until Dec. 24.
Smith said that she strove to become apart of the renowned dance company ever since she attended “The Rockettes Experience” — a four-week dance program at Radio City Music Hall that teaches young dancers how to perform Rockettes choreography — when she was eight, participating in the company’s summer intensive program for the last four years.
As an aspiring dancer, Smith took part in a two-year dance program at the American Ballet Theatre Collegiate, a professional training program at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City and several other ballet intensives. She also worked with choreographer Chet Walker — who is currently working on Broadway’s revival of Pippin — and many other Broadway stars at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival this summer.
Smith, who grew up in Malverne with her brother, Brian, 24, and attended Our Lady of Lourdes School until eighth grade, thanked her parents for all their hard work in driving her to the city for auditions and buying her many dance costumes so that she could finally become a Rockette.
“It’s been like dreams of theirs for as long as they could remember —they’ve been talking about me being a Rockette for a long time,” Smith said.
Smith started her month-long training session in Myrtle Beach this week to prepare for the show.
Once her residency ends in late December, Smith said that she will return to school in January so that she may finish her studies and continue pursuing a career in jazz dance, potentially with the Rockettes again.