When Was The First Black Rockette?

The first black Rockette was Virginia Wainwright, who joined the troupe in 1979. She was the only African American Rockette for two decades, until the company began actively recruiting and hiring more dancers of color.

The History of the Rockettes

The Rockettes are a world-renowned precision dance troupe that was founded in 1925. These female dancers, known for their high kicks, have performed in stage shows, television specials, and movies. The Rockettes are best known for their performances in the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Virginia Wainwright: The First Black Rockette

Virginia Wainwright was born in 1953 and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She began studying ballet at age 6, and she attended the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York City. Wainwright joined the Rockettes in 1979, but she was the only African American dancer in the troupe for two decades.

Recruiting Dancers of Color

In 1999, the Rockettes launched a recruitment program to bring in more dancers of color. The Rockettes’ director, Linda Haberman, said that the goal was to make the troupe more diverse, and to reflect the changing population of New York City.

The Changing Face of the Rockettes

Today, there are many more African American and Latinx dancers in the Rockettes than ever before. The troupe now includes women of all races and backgrounds, and they perform together to celebrate their diversity. Virginia Wainwright is still a member of the Rockettes, and she’s now the longest-tenured dancer with the troupe.

The Legacy of Virginia Wainwright

Virginia Wainwright has been a role model and an inspiration to dancers of color throughout the world. She has been recognized for her contributions to the Rockettes, and she is a living testament to the power of perseverance and determination. Virginia Wainwright was the first African American Rockette, but she was certainly not the last.

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