One common visual of the holiday season are children’s toys. A video of one dance routine imagining if these toys came to life has won over the internet, as a crew of toy soldiers who perform in perfect unison has been a YouTube sensation for years. The toy soldier routine is performed by the world-renowned troupe The Rockettes and it’s beyond impressive.
The dancers, all dressed in full toy soldier costumes, complete with tall feathery hat, line up and begin to shuffle in unison as the music plays, parting to form two lines. They face each other and each line marches towards the other and merges seamlessly, before turning and marching to opposite sides again.
The dancers return to a single line and small groupings turn and walk to the front of the stage, before the smaller formations turn and turn again… until everyone is in line and facing forward.
Then, two by two, they march and turn, heading back on the stage in two lines and, once everyone is lined up, they split off into a star formation and march off to return again and, while maintaining their star shape, have a march about while the crowd claps.
The Rockettes’ toy soldiers then break apart, each giving their own little individual flourishes before dancing in unison as they bend and spin and salute. They then line up across the stage again as the music speeds up slightly and they march just a little bit quicker before performing another crowd pleasing move.
When they turn and reach their arms forward, the audience can’t believe what comes next as the snare drum rolls. There, at the end of the stage, one toy soldier mans a cannon, which is fired to reveal a flag that says “Boom.”
The soldiers remain in formation as the dancer manning the cannon leans forward towards them — and thus begins a perfectly synchronized, albeit it quite slow, fall backwards, as the first soldier tips back into the next’s arms, and so on down the line.
The move appears almost in slow motion, as each dancer locks their ams in around the person in front of them and they all fall down. As the line progresses, those who started this domino begin to lay one on top of another and things speed up, until the last dancer crashes to the ground. Now, with all the soldiers down, they sit up and salute the audience as the curtain falls.
The Rockettes’ website explains how this amazing move, which they’ve been performing since 1933, is pulled off. They note that it “represents the power of teamwork,” with Christmas Spectacular Director and Choreographer Julie Branam explaining that “the key to the fall is perfect alignment between the dancers.”
Julie noted: “It starts by having someone rock up on their heels and start to go back. You raise your hands up, slide your hands through, and open your arms. Their feet have to be completely lined up because you don’t want the fall to go one way or another because someone could get hurt.”