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Behind The Scenes: Radio City, Rockettes Putting New Twist On Christmas Tradition

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Radio City's annual Christmas Spectacular opens Friday, kicking off the holiday season.

The city tradition has delighted audiences for decades. But as CBS2's Alex Denis reports, there are some new surprises this year.

The holiday season wouldn't be the same without the world-famous Rockettes. They've spent months perfecting their kicks, while preparing some new tricks.

"We rehearse six hours a day, six days a week," one dancer said.

"It is going to be unlike anything you have seen at Radio City before," another added.

Watch: The Rockettes Visit CBS2 Saturday Morning 

Behind the scenes, crews have spent months perfecting the new finale number.

Original costumes, from concept to creation, have been sewn with every detail handcrafted for each dancer.

There's also choreography to match the updated number and an added feature.

"We have 100 mini Intel drones that surround the stage and form all these different patterns and shapes," one dancer explained.

It's something new for audiences who have watched them since the 1920s. Starting with just 16 women, over the years the troupe grew to a line of 36 dancers.

Today's Rockettes must be between 5 feet 6 and 10 inches tall and proficient in tap, modern, jazz and ballet.

Something that will remain the same is the nativity scene. On Monday, Timothy Cardinal Dolan blessed the animals as they stood along Sixth Avenue.

The more than 90-year New York tradition lives on.

"It's a great combination between innovation and the tradition of Christmas. It's going to be spectacular," said dancer Jacie Scott.

The first show of the season is at 11 a.m. Friday. Performances run through January 1.

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