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The dance troupe was formed in 1925 by chief choreographer Russell Markert, inspired by Great Britain’s The Tiller Girls, who performed in a 1922 Ziegfeld Follies production. Russell wanted to achieve absolute precision and ultimate uniformity in the movements of the dancers. Originally, a Rockette had to be between 5 foot 2 inches tall and 5 foot 6½ inches, but today, she is between 5 foot 6 inches tall and 5 foot 10½ inches and has to be proficient in tap, modern, jazz and ballet. Starting with just 16 women, over the years the troupe grew to a line of 36 dancers.
* The dancers known as the Missouri Rockets made their debut in St. Louis. The troupe traveled to New York City that same year to perform in the Broadway show “Rain or Shine,” and were discovered by showman S.L. “Roxy” Rothafel. * The “Missouri Rockets” were such a success, Rothafel pleaded with Markert to form another line to replace the departing Missouri Rockets.
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