For many people, it takes time to ultimately decide on a career. Ideas of the perfect job can change from day to day. For Elida’s Angela Kahle, her career choice was clear from an early age, according to her mother, Maureen.
“All she ever wanted to do was dance,” she said. “She started when she was 3 and she never got out of it. She was always going to be a Radio City Rockette as soon as she saw them. Every little girl wants to be a Rockette when she sees them.”
Kahle began taking dance lessons and immediately showed enormous promise. Lyn Mulcahy began teaching her when she was in late junior high and could tell right away that Kahle was special.
“She was always a standout dancer,” she said. “When I was a kid in high school, I took dance lessons here and she was a little girl also taking lessons here. I even remember then watching her do tap solos. You could tell she was something special.
Kahle’s studies eventually took her to Wright State University, where she majored in performing arts.
“They have a really good musical theater and dance program there,” Mulcahy said. “Not only can you get a strong dance background there, but you can also get some great experience in musical theater, as well. I think it was a great way to get her feet wet.”
All the while, her focus remained on becoming a member off the Rockettes. Finally, as she was about to finish college, the fateful day came for her to prove her worth.
“During her senior year, we went to Chicago that spring so she could try out for the Rockettes,” Maureen said, “and she got the call that she made it, first time around.”
She did not, however, make the New York cast of the Rockettes, but rather a second cast based in Detroit.
“She was in the Detroit cast first, which was great for us because everybody around here got to go up and see her,” Maureen said.
After touring with the Detroit cast for a few years, Kahle took a short break from the Rockettes for a couple of years to try her hand at musical theater. However, she soon found herself back with the Rockettes, auditioning and being selected for the original New York cast. Despite her previous experience with the Rockettes, she faces the same rigors of trying out for the troupe every year.
“I know even though this is her 10th season, she has to reaudition like a new girl. You’re never grandfathered in,” Mulcahy said. “Obviously she’s proven herself enough over the years, but every year, she has to go through the same rigors to make the cut.”
Few outside the Rockettes understand the toll that dancing with that company can take every year.
“I remember talking to her at the start of her previous year,” Mulcahy said. “She said, ‘I still look good, I’ve still got a little weight on me. If you see me in six weeks, I’ll probably have lost 10 pounds and I’ll be pale and emaciated.’ It’s just so rigorous.”
“There are two casts in New York, and on the other cast’s days off, her group will perform four shows a day, and there are approximately 300 kicks per show,” Maureen added. “On those days, we don’t talk to Angela much, because she’s a little grumpy.”
Despite the taxing nature of dancing with the Rockettes, Kahle, even in her 10th season with the famed dance company, still has plenty of spring in her step and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“This girl has really made her mark, and it’s a great thing,” Mulcahy said.