The Radio City Rockettes's Earnings Revealed: Shocking Truth Behind the Glitz!

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Oct. 23 2023, Updated 11:51 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • In the past, a Rockette had to be between 5’2″and 5’6 ½”, however, the size requirement is now between 5’6″and 5’10 ½”, according to the Rockettes's official website.
  • The Rockettes started with 16 women but has grown to become a troupe of 36 dancers.
  • The dance troupes that later became the Rockettes were first called the “Roxyettes,” and first performed at Radio City Hall in 1932.
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Thanks to their annual show at Radio City, the Rockettes have become one of the most famous dance groups in the entire world. The Rockettes first formed almost 100 years ago in St. Louis, and they've been performing at Radio City since 1932.

The dancers also perform at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade every year, and their annual appearances have led some to wonder what the dancers are paid for their work.

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How much do Rockettes get paid per year?

According to The U.S. Sun, there are typically 84 Rockettes selected each year, and the process for choosing them can be quite grueling. Rockettes are famously very in sync and are also known for being leggy enough to perform incredibly high kicks.

The 84 dancers are split into two troupes, and only 42 of the dancers are ever performing on stage at one time. Each group has six swing dancers that are capable of subbing in for their colleagues if needed.

The Rockettes performing in Christmas-themed attire.
Source: Getty Images
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Each week, Rockettes are paid between $1,400 and $1,500 for their work. While that salary is quite good, the dancers only perform seasonally and therefore only make between $36,400 and $39,000 a year for their work with the group (yikes). While that might seem low, the Rockettes stay quite busy throughout the year, allowing them to stay active and increase their income.

Now, although they're only paid seasonally, Rockettes do receive benefits year-round, which means they can always receive medical care and other essential needs without paying for it out of pocket.

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The Rockettes are kicking it once again for the 2023 holiday season!

Over the 80-plus-year history of the Rockettes, more than 3,000 dancers have passed through the storied institution. In 2020, their annual Christmas Spectacular was canceled for the first time in history. And while they returned in November 2021, they had to cut their season short "due to increasing challenges from the pandemic," per Playbill.

The Rockettes's 2023 season kicks off on Nov. 17, 2023, just a day earlier than it did in 2022. Rockettes tickets can be purchased online and cost between $52 and $687 depending on the time and day you plan on attending. And if you intend on going to a show in 2023, bear in mind that the run time is 90 minutes with no intermission.

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People love the Rockettes but the troupe lacks diversity.

While fans of the Rockettes are always jazzed to see them prepare for the holiday festivities, in 2022, someone on Twitter took notice of the glaring lack of diversity within the company.

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"Two whole Black people in The Rockettes," tweeted Alyssa Rothman during their performance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Twitter user @rakiyahinspace rightfully pointed out that it has been 90 years and the Rockettes only had two Black dancers. Although the troupes appear to be a bit more diverse in 2023, it seems as though we can still count the number of Black dancers on one hand.

Tickets for the Christmas Spectacular are on sale on the Rockettes website.

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