If the out-of-town relatives are in town and demanding tickets for the Rockettes, feel free to show them to their seats, then high-kick your way over to Dillon’s, on West 54th Street, where ex-Rockette Jennifer Jiles’s show Kicking and Screaming starts a weekly run on Saturday.
What was your first rehearsal like? They did body-fat-content testing. You have to stay in a six-pound weight range. And they asked, “Did you always want to be a Rockette?” You’re supposed to say, “Yes!” That’s it.
Was there a lot of Rockette rivalry? You don’t touch each other’s backs in the kick line because you might push someone and cause a ripple in the line. I learned that the hard way. There was a woman next to me whom I call “Doris, Hitler on Heels” in the show, and she shoved me and said, “There! How’s it feel, Jiles? You like getting pushed around?”
What do the kids in the front row not get to see? You’re 30 yards from the audience, so they don’t see a lot. Sometimes I blacked out my teeth to make the stagehands laugh—and I’d throw in a grand-jeté to see if anybody noticed.
And the biggest occupational hazard? Every once in a while, you’ll get a chunk of camel dung on your heel. I was the only real Jew in the Nativity scene and I had to walk behind the gold camel for four years and it would poop all 75 feet across the stage.