They're no spring chickens, but if you swing by the Malley Center in Englewood this Friday afternoon, these spry ladies will entertain you with an hour-long show of choreographed tap and dance routines to show tunes like "Another Opening, Another Show," "I've Got Rhythm" and "Jump and Swing."
"It's probably the most energetic and vivacious group of women that I've ever known," says Donna Roberts, a 65-year-old homemaker who has been a Rockyette for four years. "It's really great exercise, and we just have a blast out there."
The group's 28 dancers, who range in age from fifty to eighty years old, have been performing together for about five years. "I think that they enjoy the camaraderie and sharing what they love to do with other people," says director Ann Kennedy. "And it definitely builds their self-esteem."
"It's a very supportive group," agrees Roberts. "We laugh and say that it's our therapy group: You can go into rehearsal in a bad mood, but you're going to come out with a smile on your face."
Using weekly rehearsals to hone their skills, the women perform at least one or two shows per month, usually at local senior centers and nursing homes. "It's very gratifying to see how much pleasure we can bring to these people," says Roberts.
The Rockyettes put on quite a production, complete with extravagant costumes designed and sewn by Kennedy. "I make sure that they wear a lot of bright colors and a lot of sequins," she says. "And big hats or some kind of crazy headdress." And, she adds, they finish big, too, with a high-kicking cancan-style finale. "They do a kick line, a lot of spins -- it's really high-energy. A couple of the ladies even do the splits at the end."