It’s always Christmas when you’re with the Rockettes

It’s always Christmas when you’re with the Rockettes
Rockettes Kristen Smith (left) and Tara Tubridy (right) speak with young fans at the Manhasset Library. (Photo by Teri West)

The winter holidays feel as distant as a visible constellation of stars from Times Square. We haven’t hit Thanksgiving yet. Or Halloween. We’ve barely even finished the primaries.

Who cares? If the Rockettes say it’s time to start celebrating the holidays, you do it, which is why a mass of children and parents gathered in the basement of the Manhasset Library Friday evening and left with mason jars filled with glowing lights.

Pairs of Rockettes went on an arts and crafts tour of libraries in the tristate area last week in early anticipation of their annual “Christmas Spectacular.” The show, performed at Radio City Music Hall, kicks off, quite literally, in early November and runs through Jan. 1.

“It’s kind of Christmas for us all year round,” said Tara Tubridy, now in her 13th season with the Rockettes. “I’m used to it now.”

On one side of the room, fans ranging from babies to entire families lined up to converse and pose with Tubridy and fellow Rockette Kristen Smith.

Some children cowered in front of the glittery women (“we’re probably a little intimidating,” Smith noted after one girl came and went without speaking a word) while others ran up for hugs and were eager to tell their heroes about their illustrious elementary school dance careers.

Parents offered their babies for photos, and Tubridy happily held them, even when the overwhelming experience left some in tears.

“I’m a mom, I get it,” she told one apologetic mother.

Children flexed their artistic muscles with paint markers and gem stickers. (Teri West)

The arts and crafts table was another world entirely, where children wielded sticker packs and paint markers, which, let’s be honest, smell like poison.

The smell was clearly not an issue, particularly for one young girl who used it to meticulously cover the entire top of her jar green.

A mother approached the table, equipped with a pack of rolled up lights and a lidded jar for her son.

“So, how do you do this?” she said to no one in particular.

Across the table, green lid girl had returned from a brief break and had somehow found spots that were missing paint.

Tubridy and Smith are preparing to enter the six-day-a-week, eight-hour rehearsals for the Christmas Spectacular.

“We look at ourselves as athletes, not only performers,” Tubridy said. “We have to make sure we’re physically fit and ready to go at the jump start of the season.”

This year’s show includes a new finale, which has to do with Christmas lights, she said. The “Lighting Up the Libraries” theme of the tour was no coincidence.

The Manhasset Library visit was a welcome opportunity for her to connect with fans.

“They love our costumes, especially the little girls,” Tubridy said, sitting to the side of the frenzy. “They love seeing what we’re wearing.”

Meanwhile, a pair of girls had been approaching at the cautious yet determined pace that only super fans have mastered. When they had finally reached, the braver one, as if on cue, told Tubridy, “I like your hairpiece.”

“Aw, thank you,” Tubridy said with a smile. “She likes my hairpiece.”

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