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Rockettes Feel Just Ducky as Disney Agrees They Can Dance With Donald

February 02, 1985|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Walt Disney Productions wrote a fairy tale ending to the Rockettes saga Friday by dropping all objections to using the precision dance troupe in its summer show at Radio City Music Hall.

It was a major victory for the dancers, who had been picketing the hall daily since Radio City announced three weeks ago that they would not be used in the show for the first time in 54 years.

All 36 regular Rockettes will appear in the show and a second troupe of 18 new Rockettes will be featured in shows at Disney World near Orlando, Fla., the Music Hall announced.

The Rockettes celebrated by donning Mickey Mouse ears outside the Music Hall in mid-town Manhattan and kicking up their heels for joy.

"Where's the champagne?" shouted Eileen Collins, a Rockette for 13 years. "I'm on Cloud Nine."

Disney, which is renting Radio City for 10 weeks beginning June 21, had rejected the high-kicking Rockettes as "inappropriate" in a show featuring Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.

The company resisted weeks of public appeals from celebrities, politicians and more than 30,000 others who signed a petition labeled, "Save the Rockettes."

Radio City's announcement came a day after New York Lt. Gov. Alfred DelBello telephoned David Rockefeller to plead the Rockettes' cause. The Music Hall is owned by the Rockefeller Group.

"We understood the Rockettes' desire to appear at Radio City," said Charles Ridgeway, a Disney spokesman. "It just took us awhile to figure out how to fit in their numbers with what we had planned. In effect, it doubles the show."

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