“Veteran Rockette” is out of step with modern Rockettes (and reality)

Es wird nicht aus der Reihe getanzt! Oder doch?

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the New York Post. The right-wing tabloid has finally dug up a lone voice of good old-fashioned conformity — masquerading, as conformity so often does, as “professionalism”. Meet someone you’ve never heard of, and probably will never hear from again, unless maybe FUX Snooze makes her a regular commentator:

“The only thing the Rockettes should be focused on is performing for our nation and helping unite us all with the joy, love, beauty and strength for which they are famous,” says Patty DeCarlo Grantham, a retired member of the world-famous troupe.

Grantham, president of the 552-member Rockette Alumnae Association, says she “cringed” when controversy erupted last week over plans to have the Radio City Music Hall dancers perform during the festivities surrounding Trump’s Jan. 20 swearing-in.

Grantham was specifically upset over ex-Rockette Autumn Withers urging the troupe, famed for their high-kicking in unison, to boycott the inaugural.

“We are all aware how contentious this election has been for our country,” Grantham wrote in an email to the Madison Square Garden Co., which owns Radio City.

She also wanted MSG owner James Dolan “to know that in no way does Ms. Withers’ opinions reflect the opinion of the Rockette Alumnae Association.”

“Like the millions of people who are true Rockette fans, we cannot wait to see the Rockettes proudly ‘strut their stuff’ for the upcoming inauguration of the President of the United States of America.”

Grantham sent a similar message to members of her organization, saying: “I know most of you, and certainly Russell [Markert, who founded the Rockettes in 1925] would consider it a great honor to be invited to perform for our country’s most prestigious celebration of democracy.”

Methinks somebody has a strange idea of “democracy”, given that the person the Rockettes were commanded to perform for has actually lost the popular vote by a margin of close to three million. And he would never have a shred of democratic legitimacy if not for that other creepy anachronism, the Electoral College, which was supposedly put in place to prevent just such a disaster from happening, but in fact was really meant to preserve slavery, plutocracy…and indeed, everything BUT democracy. They actually certified this clown-show. It was a slap in the face to democrats, big-D and small.

And that slap stings especially hard for the Rockettes, who would have to kick up their legs in tiny costumes and paste on big, fake smiles, knowing all the while exactly what kind of thoughts were running through the soon-to-be president’s badly-coiffed head. Everyone in the world knows just what Der Drumpf thinks of leggy women. Women like the Rockettes, who have braved a great many leers over the near-century of the troupe’s existence. So one can only imagine the Rockettes’ collective dismay at finding that their management has literally thrown them to the wolf — a wolf well known to barge into teen beauty contestants’ dressing rooms unannounced, but invariably while the girls are between costume changes.

Of course, such understandable workplace-safety concerns don’t matter squat to the management of Radio City Music Hall, any more than they do to Drumpf. And the Post? Well, they dismiss all that as mere “griping”. Or, as their “well-respected veteran Rockette” puts it, “an opportunity for people who want to get publicity to get publicity.”

As though pushing the Rockettes into an engagement that not one of them wants were not exactly that…for James Dolan & Co. And as though putting herself out in front of Rockette alumnae in this fashion were not exactly that…for Patty DeCarlo Grantham.

Meanwhile, however, there’s a definite rumbling coming from Radio City, and it’s threatening to drown out this voice of bogus reason:

They wanted no part of Trump or his inaugural, but felt they might lose their jobs if they didn’t show up for the festivities. Eighty of the Rockettes are part-timers or are on call, and their jobs were at risk if they turned the inaugural gig down. Thirteen are full time and work under a contract that says they are obligated to work at “all regularly scheduled performances.”

Despite their fears, many Rockettes spoke out, publicly. They told the press that they did not want to perform for a president-elect who is sexist, anti-Latino, anti-LGBT and who threatens their colleagues who are undocumented immigrants working as stage hands.

One Rockette, “Mary,” whose name was changed to protect her from retaliation, told Marie Claire magazine that her colleagues were crying through their Christmas show. The woman who danced next to her “felt she was being forced to perform for this monster.”

Mary, a part-timer, went on to say, “If I had to lose my job over this, I would. It’s too important.

“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue — this is a women’s rights issue,” Mary said. “This is an issue of racism and sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics.”

And the Rockettes’ union wound up backing them up, so no one will be losing her job if she begs off.

So it’s clear that this is not about partisanship OR a mere publicity grab. Most of the Rockettes have been fighting for their rights anonymously. They could not be LESS publicity-minded. And not one of them has come forward whining about her vote in the election, either. All of them are concerned about the message their performance would be sending to all the people the Drumpf administration will be trampling on. And they don’t want to put any of their sister dancers at risk for a sexual assault, either.

The Rockettes may kick in unison, but even they have the right to dance out of line when the “line” is out of step with the times, with reality, and with good sense. And certain alumnae, who are not being called upon to put a smiling face on a deadly farce, would do well to remember that.

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