Rockettes Told Trump Inauguration Show Must Go On After Dancer Objects

3 minute read

The performers’ union representing the Radio City Rockettes has told the dancers they will be required to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, after at least one dancer voiced concern about being “involved in a dangerous political climate.”

James Dolan, the executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, confirmed Thursday that the iconic female dance group will perform at Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

“We have received an email from a Rockette expressing concern about getting ‘involved in a dangerous political climate’ but I must remind you that you are all employees, and as a company, Mr. Dolan obviously wants the Rockettes to be represented at our country’s Presidential inauguration, as they were in 2001 & 2005. Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I’m afraid,” an administrator for the American Guild of Variety Artists wrote in an email to the Rockettes that was obtained by BroadwayWorld.

The email told full-time dancers they were “obligated” to perform at the inauguration. Dancers who are not full-time performers have the option of not signing up, the email said.

“This has nothing to do with anyone’s political leanings (including AGVA’s), it has to do with your best performance for your employer, period. I will reiterate that if Hillary Clinton was the President-elect, nothing would be different, and there would probably be those who would not want to be involved because of her. It is a job, and all of you should consider it an honor, no matter who is being sworn in. The election is over and this country will not survive if it remains divided,” the email said, according to BroadwayWorld.

“Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace.”

Dancer Phoebe Pearl shared her disappointment in an Instagram post that has since been deleted, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed,” Pearl wrote, according to the Reporter. “The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. We will not be forced! #notmypresident”

Trump’s transition team has struggled to book performers for the inauguration, as others in the artistic community have raised similar objections. Singer Jackie Evancho and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are currently the only other performers set to participate.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Katie Reilly at