Spanish Caribbean nationals kicking up Spectacular Christmas

Spanish Caribbean nationals kicking up Spectacular Christmas|Spanish Caribbean nationals kicking up Spectacular Christmas
Costume designer Emilio Sosa pose with Rockettes in the new costume for the 2018 Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Carl Scheffel

Tourists visiting the Big Apple during this holiday season are no different from residents of the state who since 1932 make Radio City Music Hall the destination families are guaranteed a spectacular fun-filled showcase.

It’s a bucket-list item that features scenes spotlighting Santa Claus, the Nativity, a visit to the North Pole, Dancing Bears, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, New York at Christmas — offering an eye-opening New York City tour highlighted by real-live ice-skaters in Central Park; a glimpse of Rockefeller Plaza and its angels and illuminated tree as well as digital enhancements, drones and added surprises each and every year.

While every segment offers spectacle, the most anticipated moments have always been the times the Rockettes dance shoulder to shoulder and in cadence kick high with precision to the highest height. As a matter of fact some patrons have declared that if all they did was line up and kick it would be worth the ticket.

Featuring dancers from virtually every state, Canada, and South Korea some of the best dancers annually make the rigorous audition process to star as one in the spectacular line of Rockettes.

Considering the fact the Caribbean comprise French, English, Dutch and Spanish territories it is no wonder at least one region would claim at least one of the 32 slots. For the past four years along with fellow Rockettes, Latina Sophia Michelle Anthony has been holding firm on the spot she earned.

Look for her towards the end of the line at stage right.

A Florida native, Anthony was born in Miami but moved to Orlando when she was just a tot.

As young as she was she recalled that from as far back as she can remember she declared her ambition as a dancer.

Her father who was born in Cuba and her mother, a proud Puerto Rican national encouraged her aspiration. They spared no expense sending her to dance classes where she learned tap, ballet, contemporary, pointe and salsa.

How this Caribbean offspring made it to the great holiday stage is her fairy tale reflected from her early years when her parents joined the long queues formed by tourists while on visits to the Big Apple during the Christmas season.

“From the first time I saw them (the Rockettes) I knew that was what I wanted to do,” Anthony said.

Like the mantra many repeat as the path to getting to Carnegie Hall, Anthony said she “practiced, practiced, practiced.”

The Orlando resident –(where Disneyworld is headquartered) – auditioned in her state and was an easy fit. She was a teenager but was on her way to dance utopia.

Anthony’s talent for dance quickly placed her to feature in “Beauty and the Beast”, “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” and “Celebrate the Season.”

She even toured the nation as a hip-hop dancer with Disney Live’s “Nuclear Cowboyz” arena tour.

However, although she scored a major conquest at the world renowned all-year landmark adventure destination her quest to become a Rockette never ceased.

The teenaged, five-foot six-inch jazz / hip-hop hoofer boldly auditioned to become one of the unique New York dancers.

Unfortunately on her first trial she did not make the cut.

Her determination and those of her parents and older brother Joshua kept her feet solidly aimed at kicking in New York City.

Anthony was not deterred, instead she practiced some more.

She performed as a backup singer for Jordan Sparks.

She also participated in workshops with Broadway choreographer Warren Carlye for the “New York Spring Spectacular” which featured Derek Hough at Radio City Music Hall and added a boot camp with Stephaine Klemons for the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

In addition to dancing she qualified to become an instructor and choreographer.

With as many performance experiences she bolstered her resume to include choreographing for shows, conventions, fashion shows and classes.

Anthony auditioned four more times before winning a place.

“My mother gave me some advice, there’s always a place for you and one day you will be dancing on the great stage.”

Never underestimate a mother’s intuition, especially one from the Caribbean, now Anthony place is at the far right of the leggy line.

During this holiday season she dances up to four times daily.

Mastering those frantic costume changes and make-up adjustments while testing her gabs, the daughter of the Caribbean has fulfilled a dream she honed since she first saw the showcase.

Recently she kicked up her toes and heels in front of Macy’s Department Store on the coldest Thanksgiving Day in recent history. Smiling broadly into throngs of freezing crowds she joyously performed a routine her family enjoyed the following Saturday.

The proud Latina Caribbean parents are annual regulars to the annual Spectacular and probably Sophia’s loudest cheer-leaders – in Spanish.

Also making Latino imprint on the Spectacular from the Caribbean is Dominican, fashion designer Emilio Sosa.

According to at the tender age of three, Sosa and his family made the “pilgrimage from Santo Domingo to The Bronx—and stayed. Their exodus he said was to chase after the “American Dream.”

Sosa’s dream was in art, and specifically costume design. He worked long and hard chasing his dream in the most competitive fashion market in the world. By the time he was 14-years-old he knew that his focus would be in fashion. Accredited with plaudits from being one of 16 contestants on television’s “Project Runway” in season seven, Sosa has not stopped fashioning to the delight of his clients. Eventually he won accolades winning a Tony Award nomination for his costume designs in “Porgy & Bess.” Sosa was the costume designer for Broadway’s “Topdog/Underdog,” “Motown The Musical” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”

Back in 2016 he made his foray to the Radio City Summer Spectacular now Sosa is the talent being applauded for fashioning a brand new costume for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.

He has re-created the first new costume in five years by clustering 3,069 Swarovski crystals in 11 shades of jewel tones on each dress. The colorful, Chrismassy outfits enhance the movements and unique strides typifying the Rockettes.

His handy-work is evident in “Christmas Lights,” the brand new finale and attraction to the broad, runway he has championed.

Sosa has caught up with destiny and his dream.

He is defining success, perseverance, dedication and the American Dream.

Along with 100 drones, lights, action, adventure, Sosa, Anthony, “A New Era” and the Rockettes there is Spectacular Latin Caribbean attraction at Radio City Music Hall.

See them before the last curtain on Jan. 1.

Catch You On The Inside!

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