Maria Schou, a 17-year-old Wildwood resident, will get a huge kick out of her upcoming summer. She auditioned and was accepted among thousands of dancers who seek spots in the Rockette Summer Intensive program at Radio City in New York.
This one-week program for 14- to 17-year-olds who aspire to become Rockettes will be July 8-14.
Now entering its 11th year, the Rockettes Summer Intensive offers dancers the unique opportunity to train with the world-famous Rockettes, as well as a Rockettes director/choreographer Eileen Grace, and learn their signature precision dance technique.
Schou, a junior at in Wildwood, has been dancing for 10 years. She has spent the last five and a half years at , where she is currently is captain of the Danse Arts Company Senior (16-plus years old) company. They are a performance company that puts on two shows a year—one in May and one in December—at the West County YMCA. They also perform around town whenever possible.
Schou does ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical and contemporary dance, along with modern and hip hop now and then. Tap is her favorite. She dances at least 15 hours each week. Her choreography has been featured in two of the Company's shows.
Rockettes' representatives held auditions in 13 cities, but Schou could not make the designated location for St. Louis contestants. The closest audition locations were Nashville in December or Chicago in January. Her mother and technical support expert, Karen Schou, said Maria instead created and sent an audition video. The video can be seen accompanying this article.
Dancers accepted into the program rehearse daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with group education seminars in the evenings. The curriculum focuses on original choreography and formations from the Rockette repertoire that culminates in a student showcase.
Since the inception of the Summer Intensive in 2001, 47 dancers who completed the program have gone on to become world-famous Rockettes, according to the group's website.