The Rockettes won’t rock at Trump’s inaugural

NEW YORK—Members of the Rockettes won’t rock – or dance – at Donald Trump’s inaugural, unless they volunteer to do so.

That’s the end result of a confused situation where the owner of the famed high-kicking all-woman troupe — featured performers at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall — declared they would dance for Trump, and then got hit with upset public reaction from his entertainers.

In so many words, the Rockettes did not want to dance for a Republican president-elect who’s sexist, anti-Latino, anti-LGBT and who threatens their colleagues – and they said so.

But after misquoted union e-mails hit the New York newspapers, the Rockettes’ union, the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) met with Rockettes management and worked out the voluntary arrangement. Rockettes owner James Dolan – who also owns Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and Cablevision – went along, silently.

Only 13 of the 80 Rockettes who dance on the Radio City stage are year-round full-time performers, and the AGVA contract with Madison Square Garden Corp., which covers them, says they’re obligated to work at “all regularly scheduled performances.”

The other Rockettes are part-timers or on call, and their jobs were at risk if they turned the inaugural gig down. But, citing Trump’s statements and his threats to co-workers, including undocumented stagehands, they did anyway. That led AGVA to meet Dolan’s minions.

“AGVA is the exclusive bargaining representative for the Rockettes and for decades has worked tirelessly to protect them in the workplace and strived to negotiate the highest industry standard contracts. MSG’s announcement that the Rockettes were being included in the presidential inaugural has brought up legitimate concern among our members, the theatrical community and the public at large,” the union said in a statement.

“We took this very seriously and immediately contacted Radio City for a meeting to address this volatile situation. This is always the first course of action in a labor-management issue or dispute. Fortunately, the company has agreed that ALL participation in this particular event will be voluntary. We are greatly relieved and hope to work with our members to inform them and alleviate the anxiety and fears this has caused,” AGVA added.

That “voluntary” agreement includes the 13 full-timers, AGVA said.

Before that, the Rockettes were, to put it mildly, upset. One Rockette, “Mary,” whose name was changed to protect her from retaliation, told Marie Claire her colleagues were crying through their Christmas show. The one who danced next to Mary “felt she was being forced to perform for this monster.” As for Mary herself, a part-timer, “If I had to lose my job over this, I would. It’s too important.”

As of New Year’s Day, no Rockette has publically volunteered to dance at the inauguration.

Source: PAI