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Greenwich Teen Competes for Rockettes Dream

GREENWICH, Conn. – Ever since 16-year-old Greenwich High School student Marisa Haan’s parents took her to see “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular” when she was barely in ballet shoes, she has dreamed of joining the world-famous Rockettes. This spring you can watch her kick it up reality show-style on MSG Varsity’s “The Rockettes Summer Intensive.”

In the show, cameras follow Haan and five other girls through rehearsals, auditions and the emotional pitfalls that go with it all. Their work culminates in auditioning with jazz and tap routines for the real Rockettes in the hopes of attaining one spot in "The Rockettes Summer Intensive."

“Two years ago my parents took me again to the 'Spectacular,' and a few months later we saw the TV show for the 'Summer Intensive,'” she said. “I had never even heard of it, but nothing else can really prepare you for the Rockettes because it’s such a different kind of dance.” She was a week too late for Season One’s auditions so in January she took a chance.

Haan was featured on the second episode of the series Sunday, where she competed for one of the 450 spots in the 2012 Rockettes Summer Intensive camp. The episode was filmed during Haan’s audition in January. Two days before her audition, she had pulled her quad during a Varsity dance team competition when she attempted a complicated move called a “fire burn.”

“I had a brace on my quad. It was definitely an issue, but I was able to work through it. Injuries happen all the time being a dancer,” she said. “When something starts hurting I ice it, rest, compress and elevate. My dad and I have a routine down.”

Haan is keeping a tight lip on the outcome of the audition, and viewers will have to wait until May to see whether she secures a spot in the intensive. The program offers dancers a demanding one-week crash course in what it takes to be a Rockette. Acceptance is a crucial stepping-stone for those who aspire one day to high-kick in the renowned company. Though Haan can’t audition for the legendary dance troupe until she is 18, the show offers her an opportunity to receive firsthand training.

“We would be learning with the Rockettes and the Rockettes choreographer. It’s a huge deal. It would be nine hours a day for a week straight of very intense kick-lining combinations, jazz and tap,” said Haan. Since the Rockettes Summer Intensive program began in 2001, 47 participants have gone on to become Rockettes.

Haan couldn’t contain her excitement at the prospect of reaching her goal. “Oh my gosh, it would be so cool. It’s such a high dream right now. Making it into the intensive would mean I’m on my way to becoming a reality,” said Haan, a junior at Greenwich High who is planning to study math in college. “I’m big in math, and my parents think it has to do with dancing because it has so much to do with numbers. I know dance will always be a part of my life.”

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