Controversy over the Rockettes' upcoming performance at Donald Trump's Doomsday Hellmouth Inauguration Spectacular (Brought To You By Trump Steaks) hasn't died down yet. Though the group's management—helmed by Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan—made the gig optional after an initial uproar, Dolan himself recently addressed some dancers' concerns over the performance, reportedly telling the Rockettes during a private meeting: "I would simply say, we're celebrating a new president, not necessarily this president." Maybe the whole world should try this magical thinking—come January 20th, just smile and dance as you imagine the 45th President as a vague silhouette that could represent anything, really—a platypus; it doesn't matter! What matters is America held a fair and open election to decide our next president. We have a president you guys, let's party.
An anonymous Rockette told Marie Claire that Dolan called the impromptu meeting not long after the magazine ran an interview with an anonymous dancer who said some of her colleagues felt they were "being forced to perform for this monster." He addressed some of the dancers' calls for a boycott following the announcement last month that they would perform at the inauguration, and said that while individual full-time Rockettes can opt out of this event, he won't be so lenient in the future. "This is the one time we're going to do this," he reportedly said in reference to letting dancers opt-out, noting that it's likely the Rockettes will be hired to perform at the White House, on July 4th. "And hopefully nobody will have problems with that."
When one dancer told Dolan "it just sounds like you're asking us to be tolerant of intolerance," he reportedly replied, "Yeah, in a way, I guess we are doing that. What other choices do we have? What else would you suggest?" Indeed, everyone knows that when you receive an order to perform at President Orange Nightmare Sauce's coronation, you must do it—there is no choice, only patriotic duty. Just ask... Jackie Evancho and... The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (minus one singer who quit the choir in protest).
And besides, just think of the exposure. "A good portion of people voted for [Trump]," Dolan reportedly told the dancers. "Hopefully they will like our brand. If 1% of 1% of them come to our show, we're going to do great." For what it's worth, the MSG Company does not appear to be happy with Marie Claire's story about Dolan's meeting—this morning spokesman Barry Watkins released the following statement:
This is one person who continues to attempt to represent the entire team of Rockettes. This time it’s in a story that is the result of an unauthorized recording that violated the confidentiality of all of her sister Rockettes. While Mr. Dolan stands behind everything he said during the meeting, no one in that room believed they were speaking publicly. Everyone in the meeting had the chance to speak their mind in a safe setting, and many did. Her secret recording was deceitful and cowardly and has betrayed all of her fellow Rockettes. Posting this story is beneath the ethical standards of Hearst. We are deeply disappointed in their decision to post this story.
Meanwhile, Dolan isn't the only one reportedly pushing the Rockettes to dance for Trump. Patty DeCarlo Grantham, a veteran Rockette who happens to be the president of the Rockette Alumnae Association, wrote in an email to MSG Company that the alumnae group was behind the performance. "Like the millions of people who are true Rockette fans, we cannot wait to see the Rockettes proudly ‘strut their stuff’ for the upcoming inauguration of the President of the United States of America," she wrote, according to the Post. As for the Rockettes, past and present, who decry it, she wrote, "I think it’s an opportunity for people who want to get publicity to get publicity."