The Rockettes Went Through with Their Controversial Inauguration-Day Performance

A portion of the troupe took the stage at the Liberty and Freedom Balls.

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(Image credit: Archives)

The Rockettes' involvement with Donald Trump's swearing-in has been complicated at best. The troupe's inauguration performance was announced just before Christmas, which came as a surprise to the dancers, who learned of the news along with the rest of the world.

While their participation was, after some initial back-and-forth, fully voluntary, many Rockettes felt their brand's alignment with the divisive president-elect put them in a compromising position, and that they didn't have an outlet to express their dissent.

After one Rockette spoke out to about the turmoil behind the scenes, Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan called a meeting with the dancers to discuss the performance and the controversy surrounding it, in which he messaged that they should tolerate intolerance and appreciate the opportunity for what it is. "This is a great national event," he said.


In an interesting twist, the Rockettes did not take the inauguration stage today as many expected. They also did not perform in the inauguration parade. Instead, they danced at the Liberty and Freedom Balls, the official inaugural balls taking place in the capitol tonight.

"The Rockettes were only ever scheduled at the Liberty and Freedom Ball," an MSG spokesperson said in a statement to

Watch the Rockettes' performances here:

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Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.