The Radio City Rockettes will perform at the inauguration in January, and at least one member of the group is not happy about that.
Phoebe Pearl is the first dancer in the Rockettes to publicly voice her disappointment with the news that she will perform for Donald Trump, criticizing her union and the 45th president of the United States in an Instagram post.
Here’s what you need to know about Phoebe Pearl.
1. She Says She’s ‘Embarrassed’ & ‘Disappointed’ to be Performing for Donald Trump
On Thursday, December 22nd, Director of Communications for the Presidential Inaugural Committee Boris Epshteyn revealed in a CNN interview that the Radio City Rockettes will perform for Donald Trump at the inauguration. He said, however, that it had not yet been determined when or where they will perform.
Hours later, Phoebe Pearl took to Instagram to react to the news; her criticism of Trump accompanied a photo of the Rockettes with a speech bubble reading, “Not my president!” However, she makes clear that she is speaking only for herself and not for the organization.
In the post, Pearl says that she typically doesn’t take political stands on social media, but she feels embarrassed and disappointed that she’s being forced to perform for Donald Trump, a man who, Pearl explains, stands for everything she is against. Pearl has since set her Instagram to private.
Here’s the full text of Pearl’s original Instagram post, via The New York Post:
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. 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
2. She Has Been With the Rockettes Since 2009
Phoebe Pearl was born in Los Angeles, California. She attended Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and then got her degree in dance at the Boston Conservatory.
She has been studying dance since the age of three, and she is trained in ballet, modern, jazz and tap dancing, according to her biography on Broadway Connection.
Following her graduation from Boston Conservatory, Pearl relocated to New York. She joined the Rockettes in September 2009 and has been working as a dancer there ever since, according to Pearl’s LinkedIn profile.
3. She Performed in a National Tour of ‘Dirty Dancing’
Outside of the Rockettes, Pearl has entertained in a variety of stage plays, including being the dance captain in a national tour of Dirty Dancing in 2014. She was also the understudy for Baby and Penny, who were played by Bronwyn Reed and Jennifer Mealani Jones respectively.
In 2013, she played Lucille in a production of Thoroughly Modern Mile at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. That same year, she was Geminae in a production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Pearl has recently been working on a short film project.
4. Her Union, the American Guild of Variety Artists, Reportedly Says The Rockettes Are Obligated to Perform
In her Instagram post, Pearl mentions that “it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration.” She’s likely referring to an e-mail sent from the union she is a part of, the American Guild of Variety Artists.
Broadway World obtained a copy of this email, and it says that full-time workers must participate in the inauguration and that any boycotts are invalid.
One section of the email reads, “We have been made aware of what is going on Facebook and other social media, however, this does not change anything unless Radio City has a change of heart. The ranting of the public is just that, ranting. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but this does not change your employment status for those who are full time…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 also says that there is no room for political opinions in the workplace. Finally, it specifies that those who are not full-time workers don’t have to sign up to perform at the inauguration, but those who are full-time workers are obligated to perform.
On Twitter, some Hillary Clinton supporters, including comedian Patton Oswalt, have called on their followers to contact the American Guild of Variety Artists.
But In a statement to Billboard, the Madison Square Garden Company said that the Rockettes are actually eager to participate in the inauguration.
“For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural,” the statement read. “It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.”
5. The Rockettes Will Join Jackie Evancho & the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Three performances have been lined up for Donald Trump’s inauguration so far. In addition to the Radio City Rockettes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will also perform. The choir, which is a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and which was founded in 1847, has previously performed at the inauguration of George H. W. Bush, Richard M. Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson.
“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the inaugurals of U. S. presidents,” Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said in a statement. “Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best. We are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”
In addition, 16-year-old Jackie Evancho will sing the national anthem. Evancho finished second in the fifth season of American’s Got Talent; she has been active since 2009 and has released six albums, with one of them going platinum.
The Rockettes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Jackie Evancho have all faced backlash on social media for agreeing to participate in Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Outside of the main inauguration ceremony, there will be a variety of inaugural balls held for Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., and some have released their list of entertainers. A look at these inaugural balls and their entertainment lineup can be viewed below: