Kentwood freshman-to-be Gabby Letourneau chases her dancing dreams

Letourneau, who began dancing as a toddler, earned a spot in the Rockettes summer intensive program in New York.

This summer brought another important step in achieving Gabby Letourneau’s dream of becoming a Radio City Music Hall Rockette.

The Rockettes are a precision dance company that perform the Radio City Christmas Spectacular each year and have become a familiar symbol of Christmas in New York.

Letourneau, who began dancing as a toddler, earned a spot in the Rockettes summer intensive program in New York.

This year was the first time Letourneau was eligible to audition, and still was only just barely old enough. She turned 14 — thereby meeting the age requirement — just in time to be able to participate.

Letourneau first learned about the Rockettes a few years ago and was intrigued.

Letourneau, who will be a freshman at Kentwood this year, dances at Allegro Performing Arts Academy in Kent. There she studies most styles of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, heels, point shoes, and hip hop, although she says lyrical and jazz are her favorites.

“It (jazz and lyrical) is what I’m most comfortable with and those are my strengths,” Letourneau said.

She flew to New York in February with her mom to audition and found out a month later that she made the alternate list.

“I was the youngest girl who auditioned so I wasn’t really expecting to make it,” Letourneau said.

In May she got the call that a spot opened up and she was invited to attend.

So at the end of June it was back to New York she went.

As part of the program Letourneau got to tour Radio City and learn and perform Rockettes routines.

“Just how blessed I was to get to dance with actual Rockettes,” Letourneau said of how she felt when she got on the plane to come home. “I really enjoyed meeting all the different people who came.”

Letourneau said she dreams of returning to New York. She hopes to attend New York University and get into the fashion industry — and to be a full-fledged Rockette.

Also as a part of dancing at Allegro, students are involved in a number of community service projects throughout the year.

“I actually really like performing for the elderly,” Letourneau said of her favorite community service aspect of Allegro. “It’s really cool seeing their reactions to everything.”

Letourneau said it is the ability to express herself through dance and how she can always challenge herself to grow as a dancer that are the things she loves most about dancing.

“It isn’t just one thing you can do with it (dancing), it’s so many different things,” Letourneau said.