Since their debut at Radio City Music Hall in 1932, the Rockettes have delighted audiences from around the world. And this year, a Portland woman is making history with the dance company.
Years ago, the Rockettes inspired a young Portland girl who had already been dancing since the age of three. That dance is what she wanted to do as a career.
“In my middle school years, the Rockettes were doing their touring production and they came to Portland,” said Sydney Mesher.
Now, Mesher is enjoying her freshman year as a Radio City Rockette, but in a groundbreaking role with the company.
Mesher is the first dancer with a visible disability. She was born without a left hand.
“Through a lot of hard work and great support and amazing teachers, I am able to be in this position that I am, but there is still so much left to do,” said Mesher. “But I’m very grateful and very, very humbled to be here.”
Mesher considers herself a representative of the disabled community, because there just aren’t many others in entertainment – but says hers is not a handicap especially with all the support she has.
“I’m able to do everything. I just maybe have to tweak it a little bit, but I’m comfortable doing that myself,” said Mesher. “But coming here, I was overwhelmed with the compassion and the aid that I received. Everyone was so eager and excited to help me alter things that could be altered.”
For one number where the dancers had to pick up and turn boxes, a prop person made some small adjustments for her box – but she says the audience will never know the difference.
Mesher would like to be an inspiration to others who are “limb different,” but she feels every dancer does that.
“I’m extremely grateful, but for me what’s so incredible about the line of women, about the Rockettes, is that every single person inspires people in their own way,” Mesher said.
Mesher is very busy this time of year as the Rockettes perform their holiday tradition, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, every night through to January 5.
“I can’t believe this is my life right now — to be talking to FOX 12 that I grew up watching back in Portland with my family — so it’s very humbling and I’m very excited.”