The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

#tbt - Local Rockettes part of Radio City Music Hall history

Some people get a big kick out of Christmas.

If you’re a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, you really do.

Literally.

Today, December 27, 2018, marks the 82nd anniversary of the opening of the one of the world’s most famous entertainment venues, Radio City Music Hall in New York City. * The iconic theater has hosted many famous performers but perhaps is best known for the unparalleled performances of precision by its own Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.

Radio City’s “Christmas Spectacular” featuring the Rockettes has become a holiday tradition for visitors from around the globe.

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Did you know that at least two women from the Greater Middletown area were members of that esteemed chorus?

Middletown was proud to be represented by Dottie Belle Meymann, formerly of South Main Street, and Joan Ritter, formerly of Young Street. Both graduated from  Middletown High School: Dottie Belle in 1973 and Miss Ritter in 1939.

A 1974 Middletown Journal article described 19-year-old Dottie Belle, by then a Rockette, as a “5-foot-5, 114-pound brunette” who “‘hasn’t stopped dancing since she was three years old,’ according to her mother, Mrs. Peggy Meymann.”

Throughout her career as an entertainer Dottie Belle has travelled the world, appearing with some of the most famous names in show business on stage and TV. She’s also appeared in TV commercials. You can learn more about her at  https://www.rehearsalclubnyc.com/dottie-belle.

Three months after graduating from Middletown High in 1939, Miss Ritter went to New York City and joined the  Rockettes, “an ensemble of 32 dancers with whom she danced and served as emcee and pop soloist and did USO shows…,” according to a 1967 Middletown Journal article. Miss Ritter was also a popular dance teacher in Middletown.

If you can’t make it to the Big Apple this year to celebrate the holidays, do what the Rockettes do:

Kick up your heels and dance!

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Sources:

*”2018 Chase’s Calendar of Events” available at MidPointe Library.

The Middletown Journal, August 1, 1974. “Local Rockette Home” by Sandy Pawelkoski.

The Middletown Journal, December 16, 1967. “Parks Department plans dance classes.”

High school photos from the 1939 and 1973 Middletown High School Optimists are available for viewing on the MidPointe Digital Archives : “The Optimist: Middletown City School District High School Yearbooks.”

http://www.midpointedigitalarchives.org/digital/collection/Midpoint01

They are also available for reading in the Ohio Room at MidPointe Library-Middletown.