Updated 7:20 p.m. ET
The Radio City Rockettes are an iconic symbol of New York glamour, so perhaps it is unsurprising that the dance troupe would be a top choice for New Yorker Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony next month.
The president-elect’s transition team confirmed Thursday that The Rockettes would be performing, but not all of the dancers were thrilled by the announcement.
Rockette Phoebe Pearl said in a post on Instagram (that has since been deleted) that she was “embarrassed and disappointed” to learn of the decision, which she says the dancers were not consulted about.
“The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love,” Pearl wrote. “The decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling.” She added, “We have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts,” with the hashtag “not my president.”
Earlier in the day, any talk of boycotting the performance seemed quickly quashed by the Rockettes’ union — the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). In an email obtained and published by Broadwayworld.com, a union representative wrote that “Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace.” The letter noted that dancers who are not full time did not have to sign up to perform, but “if you are fulltime, you are obligated.”
Later Friday, the union clarified its position on Facebook, saying that while a small number of year-round dancers were contractually obligated to perform at the inauguration, participation for most members of the renowned dance troupe was “voluntary.”
“There has also been a considerable amount of misinformation about the Union’s position. The Union never ‘demanded’ that the Rockettes perform at the inauguration,” the statement reads.
The Madison Square Garden Co., owner of The Rockettes, reiterated AGVA’s decision in its own statement:
“The Radio City Rockettes are proud to participate in the 58th Presidential Inaugural. For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural. It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.”
Several major acts, including Elton John, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion and Idina Menzel, have reportedly refused to participate in the inauguration celebrations. In response to a question from Vanity Fair about Trump’s difficulty locking down performers, Menzel said, “It’s karma, baby.”