As a girl, Jenee Brown would sit in front of the TV in her Thornton home, watching the Rockettes strut in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Back then, she fantasized about becoming a member of the leggy dance troupe. Now her childhood wish has been granted, and Brown will join seventeen other Rockettes on a Colorado stage tonight, performing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
"I've been dancing since I was three, and this is just a dream," says Brown. "I was taught dance with lots of free-flowing movement. Then I became a Rockette, and it's completely the opposite. You line up shoulder to shoulder, and every little pinkie, each elbow, every angle and kick have to be exactly the same. It's crazy, but I love it."
For some, the dazzling smiles, perfect bodies and all that kicking might grow tiresome. Still, there is an artistic side to it, which is precisely why these glamour girls became famous. And their fame is spreading. Although the Rockettes have been playing New York since the '30s, this is their first appearance in Denver. "We realize that not everyone can get to New York for Christmas, so we'll bring Christmas to you," says producer Jon Bonanni. The show that features dancing nutcrackers and teddy bears is still the mainstay, but it now includes a 3-D movie and a real ice-skating rink, as well.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular runs through December 31 at the Buell Theatre, 1245 Champa Street. Tickets range from $20 to $65; to purchase yours, call 303-893-4100 or log on to www.denvercenter.org. Music Hall not included. -- Jerri Theil
Thanksgiving Beating Drums of the World thumps on SUN, 11/28
Drumsticks are everywhere this Thanksgiving: They are part of delicious turkeys and also part of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Drums of the World performance this afternoon. "This show has everything from standard African rhythms to very avant-garde pieces," says Bill Hill, principal timpanist for Drums of the World. "It's a great learning experience for fans of strictly drum music or for first-timers to a drum show."
The show, which is six years old, employs hundreds of percussion instruments. Some of the pounding pieces played are originals penned by members of the ensemble, but most were composed by percussion masters from all over the world. "When they get into a pattern on stage, you can't help this urge to just get up and dance," says CSO spokeswoman Jayce Keane.
The show, in the Boettcher Concert Hall at 14th and Champa streets, starts at 2:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, $12 to $16, call 303-Maestro (623-7876) or visit www.coloradosymphony.org. -- Richard Kellerhals