News: Dance in the Olympic Opening Ceremony

Wednesday 25 July 2012 by Carmel Smith

Image courtesy of London 2012

Ten thousand adult volunteer performers and around nine hundred children from schools in the Olympic host boroughs will be taking part in the £27 million opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics in Stratford on Friday evening.

The title – Isles of Wonder , is inspired by Shakespeare’s play The Tempest and Director Danny Boyle (best known for films Slumdog Milllionaire and Trainspotting ) promises that the show will be ‘inclusive’ and ‘involving’. Back in January he revealed that a sequence featuring National Health Service workers will be ‘a great dance moment’.

So what else can we look forward to? Even though around 60,000 people saw a dress rehearsal of the show on Monday night (with another showing this evening) – it seems almost all of them are maintaining the ‘#savethesurprise’ request asked of them to keep details a closely guarded secret. We do know a few of the dance artists who are involved though.

Akram Khan, who had to cancel shows earlier this year due to an Achilles tendon injury, talked about looking forward to performing in front of a global audience of over a billion when he was cast away on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs this week. Available on iplayer Hip hop star Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, of Olivier Award winning Boy Blue Entertainment will also be a part of the opening ceremony and Ben Clare, choreographer for Sister Act on Broadway and for the production’s UK tour has choreographed a sequence for the show. Jeanefer Jean Charles, who choreographed the first Big Dance for Trafalgar Square in 2006 is one of the Mass Movement Co-ordinators for all four Olympic and Paralympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, along with London based choreographer Darragh O’Leary.

Next month Jenny Sealy (Graeae Theatre Company) and Bradley Hemmings (Greenwich and Docklands Festival) are co Artistic Directors of the opening ceremony for the Paralympics on 29 August. Enlightenment will feature 3,000 adult volunteers, a children volunteer cast of over 100, and 100-plus professionals – with choreography by Kevin Finnan, Artistic Director of Motionhouse, known for producing spectacular large scale outdoor productions.

BBC1’s live coverage starts at 7pm on Friday 27 July, with the show starting at 9pm and estimated finish time of 12.30am.

www.london2012.com

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