Local dancer to join kick line
The local dancer did so well, she was offered a trip to New York.
By MONICA BOND
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NEWTON FALLS -- Chelsea Billock, a Newton Falls High School student, will learn what it's like to be a Radio City Music Hall Rockette this summer.
She's the only area dancer who will attend the Rockette Summer Intensive, which starts Sunday and runs through June 25, at Point Park University, Pittsburgh.
Chelsea, 16, takes lessons and teaches dance to 8- to 12-year-olds at Mimi's Studio of Dance in Newton Falls.
"Mimi is a good friend of the family. My mom danced with her, and I was always around the studio. I just started dancing, so my mom put me in lessons," Chelsea said.
The Rockette Summer Intensive is a weeklong residential dance program for girls 14 and older. The program was developed to give aspiring dancers an opportunity to learn Rockette dance, said Eileen Grace, a Point Park University alumna, former Rockette dancer, and a director and choreographer for the Rockettes.
Several universities and Radio City Music Hall, home of the Rockettes' studio, host the intensives throughout the summer. This is the second year the intensive will be at Point Park University.
"They spend the week learning Rockette dance and then perform Rockette dance for their family and friends," Grace said.
About 100 girls will attend the intensive at Point Park. Grace said the girls are divided into three groups based on level of skill.
For the final performance June 25, the girls learn three Rockette routines: tap, stylized jazz, and Parade of the Wooden Soldiers -- the Rockettes' most famous precision line dance.
Chelsea said she first heard of the Rockette Summer Intensive when the studio received a paper advertising it.
"I thought it'd be something different no one had done before," she said.
She tried out, but didn't think she'd make the cut.
"There were so many girls there. I thought, 'Oh well, it will be a good tryout experience,'" she said. "We learned Rockette kick lines and danced three at a time in front of everyone and a choreographer who is a former Rockette dancer."
When she didn't hear anything from the audition, she concluded she hadn't made it, but that was not the case.
"My mom called, and it turned out I had done so well they wanted to send me to New York," she said.
However, Chelsesa and her parents decided she should stay in Pittsburgh this year because she is too young to audition for the Rockettes (dancers must be 17 to audition and 18 when they sign the contract) and the trip to New York would be unchaparoned. "Maybe next year," she said.
Chelsea will graduate from Newton Falls High School in 2007. She plans to pursue dentistry and minor in dance at a university.
"I think I want to be a dental hygienist and run a dance studio," she said. "I teach little kids and love them looking up to me, and teaching them what I know."