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Ten years of footwork: Tiffany Tabor Mackrill celebrates dance milestone
July 29, 2016 Frank Marquez   

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Courtesy photo Tiffany Tabor Mackrill plays Morticia in the Theatre West production of “The Addams Family” last season.

Dance has become a way of life for Tiffany Tabor Mackrill.

Aside from being a dancer in the famous Rockette troupe, she returned home to Scottsbluff to share a wealth of dance knowledge as choreographer for Theatre West, and putting together steps for the company’s production “Willy Wonka,” currently playing at the Little Theatre on the campus of Western Nebraska Community College in north Scottsbluff. The Wonka cast heads into its final weekend of performances, the last two shows set for today (Friday, July 29) and tomorrow.

Giving up being a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Tiffany and her husband Jared moved back to Scottsbluff in Jan 2006 at the end of the Rockette’s season. After three years of kicking up her heels, she walked away from the Rockettes because she and Jared wanted to start a family. Tiffany is now the mother of two, a daughter Quinn, 4, and newborn son, Ren.

Upon her return, she began teaching at the family business, Tabor Dance Academy, where she gave this interview with her children in tow. Juggling family and career there, she teaches ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, pointe (toe shoes), and contemporary.

This year marks Tiffany’s 11th season with Theatre West. Her involvement with Theatre West began in 2006, when she took a part in a “Chorus Line.” In the same year, Theatre West Director Judy Chaloupka, fellow performance arts professional and longtime friend of the Tabor family, approached Tiffany about doing more.

That year, Chaloupka asked Tiffany to choreograph “The Wizard of Oz,” her first show in that behind-the scenes role. Every season since, she’s done one to two shows. “It’s been a wonderful outlet being a part of Theatre West,” she said. “Of dance styles, theatre is my favorite, the energy, you get to work with young adults and children ages 3-18. Musical theater is my favorite genre.” Wonka employs a plethora of them who play the loveable Oompa Loompas. “I enjoy young adults I get to work with at Theatre West, who have the same passion; it’s a different energy,” Tiffany said. “They are either young adults trying to break into musical theater, or experienced actors bringing back their views (of how to develop their tradecraft), experience from their current careers of people all over the country. I owe Judy a debt of gratitude for all this experience, and for asking me to do that first show; I’m thankful for being with them ever since.”

After graduating from Scottsbluff High School, Tiffany went on to study dance at the University of Arizona (Wildcats) before experiencing one of the highlights of her dance career. “Being a Rockette is a wonderful job. It’s an incredible feeling knowing you’re going to be a Rockette. Working with other women in a united goal, it was special. I had to get used to the Rockette style, the precision line (doing the same kicks) was really cool.” Tiffany based her success on being versatile. “I was trained in everything. My focus was jazz, which encompassed lyrical, contemporary styles of dance. I also trained in ballet, modern tap, hip-hop, which was a new style.”

So, what does it take to be a Rockette? Tiffany said, “a dancer needs to be proficient; 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-10-1/2; and be at least 18-years old. Tiffany auditioned in 2005 at the famed Radio City Music Hall at the age of 25.

It was job she would do for three years, travelling, kicking her heels high and enjoying every minute of it. Though, it wasn’t her first trip to the Big Apple. At 18, Tiffany spent two weeks in New York for intensive dance training, which included a tour of Radio City. When she did finally audition, seven years later, she was among 700 hopeful dancers. For one of the most sought after jobs in New York City or anywhere for that matter, the group was pared down to 50 in the first day after 10 hours of grueling performances. “I have never been more sore in my life than at that audition,” Tiffany said. In the second day, the dancers returned to be video-taped, interviewed, and sized. After the second round of auditions, “no one knew. We all left not knowing. Of the 50, only about half were hired,” she said. The Rockette’s season is short, lasting from 2.5 to 3 months. During that time, Tiffany danced for the Rockettes in Detroit, Houston and Dallas. In her third season, she returned home to Scottsbluff, which allowed her the opportunity to plug back into the family business, Tabor Dance Academy. She misses the Rockettes, Tiffany ecstatically reported, the Rockettes are presenting a brand new Spring Spectacular this year.

Among, cherished memories of dance, Tiffany also performed in a salute to the troops at Busch Gardens. She appeared in a tap show called Rhythm Chefs, in which the dancers, aside from making a little noise with their feet, also banged on pots and pans, and played spoons. “It was silly, but probably one of the most memorable times,” Tiffany said. She also was invited as a special guest to a Dance Camp, which hosted middle school and high school kids in Halsey, Nebraska. “It was quite an honor, and we got to dance all day.”

At the Academy, Tiffany said, “It’s about fun, exercise, wellness as well as a springboard for a professional career; we’re here for both avenues. We teach them the best we know how. I like to share my experiences with the kids; keep that part of myself alive in any setting as a teacher.”

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