LET THE GAMES CONTINUEI finished off last months piece when we reached the transition from rehearsals into BC Stadium for The Opening Ceremony of The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
This is truly one of my favourite parts of the Olympic process. You’ve spent the past few months rehearsing offsite in a purpose built rehearsal space drilling every possible detail, choreography, spacing, entrances, exits, eye lines…. well everything! You continually try and excite the casts with the ‘It’s just an entirely different world’ once you’re inside a stadium for the world to watch you…but it’s not until they actually walk into the stadium for the first time that they really grasp the idea of how HUGE something like performing in an Olympics can be.
As in my previous article I explained the grid system. All of our spacing is to an alphanumerical system marked on the floor so we can create those amazing patterns and shapes that you see on television. Seeing it all come together after all those months of rehearsals is really a special moment.
This is the moment where the choreographic team take a step back and ‘hand it over’ to the cast say to speak. It’s now up to them! As the technical aspect is so massive that really takes the lead in stadium rehearsals.
One of the hardest segments to rehearse in the Opening Ceremony is the Athletes Parade, as you never actually have the Athletes till the night itself. It is the most planned and rehearsed segment. The Director and his team spend months planning everything, down to the very last detail. We rehearse volunteer cast known as the Athlete Marshalls. These are the only way to monitor and catch any problems on the night. They form the shapes around the Athletes as they enter the Stadium. My responsibility on the night was to meet the Athletes of the world prior to their entry into the stadium. I must admit it the most exciting thing to be a part of. Greeting the Athletes as they are about to enter the stadium and seeing their excitement is a feeling that is rare to experience.
The Opening Ceremony was just amazing and what an inspiring feeling to be there and to soak up the atmosphere as the world comes together to celebrate sporting Olympians from around the world.
As soon as The Opening Ceremony is over it’s straight into the world of The Closing Ceremony.
LET THE GAMES CONTINUEOne of the highlights for me in The Closing Ceremony was the opportunity to choreograph the four backing vocalists supporting Michael Buble. I had the pleasure to choreograph four of the most fabulous dancers from Vancouver. Girls flew in from all round Canada for the opportunity to dance in The Closing Ceremony. As in my previous article, auditionees audition not knowing what they are auditioning for! It’s always so exciting to see their faces once they know what they are doing in the actually ceremony.
It’s rather nerve racking when you’re given the chance to choreograph and show your work to three and half billion people! No pressure!!!!
The girls looked fabulous and were a hit…I was very proud!
Without a doubt my second most favourite part of The Closing Ceremony was the chance to be a ‘Curler’ for legendary comedic actress, Catherine O’Hara. You might know Catherine from such movies as, Best in Show, Waiting For Guffman, A Mighty Wind and of course the Home Alone movies!!!
Made in Canada kicked off the entertainment in Closing and Catherine was the second Canadian performer in the segment. Can I just say how incredibly amazing this woman is. So refreshing to meet someone who is at the top of their field and discover how friendly, professional and funny she was. I couldn’t help myself after the first day of rehearsals to ask her everything about my favourite film Waiting For Guffman…. Catherine was more then happy to share on set gags and the process of how they filmed the movie.
My favourite moment of the entire Olympics had to be my own segment. I was given the chance to be The Segment Director for final part of the Closing Ceremony – The Finale/Rave. There were over 400 hip-hop volunteers and 32 professional hip hoppers that made up this segment. Having never been a segment director before there was so much to learn.
Having an incredible team with me and my dear friend and designer Elli Bunton we managed to create the final six minutes of the Closing Ceremony. I hope that you had a chance to watch and were very proud of all the Australians involved in such a huge undertaking.
Catch you next month on DanceLife…
Nathan M. Wright.