Saturday, 13 October 2012

olympics: london 2012

opps, been awhile since i last updated (been super busy!).  basically, i was volunteering as a dancer for the paralympics opening ceremony, and rehearsals took up a lot of time.  however, the experience was absolutely incredible!  so if you're living in brazil in 2016, then definitely think about auditioning for the ceremonies: it will be the memory of a lifetime!
anyhow, during the olympics this past summer, london pretty much hummed on as usual; only the areas immediately near olympic park in east london were exceptionally crowded - the tube (london's metro) was disgustingly hot and packed with people, yuck.  but as long as you weren't commuting in that direction, life went on as normal.  except, of course, for the exciting festive atmosphere!  olympics, and then paralympics, decorations sprang up everywhere; statues of the mascots, wenlock and mandeville, popped up all over london in various guises.  at first, the mascots creeped me out, but after awhile, they grew on me and i started to think they were kinda cute. =P  i thought this video was particularly endearing.  haha


but my all-time favorite decoration was definitely the epic olympic rings at tower bridge (just stunning!):


the organizers also gave us paralympics volunteers free tickets to the olympics opening ceremony dress rehearsal, so we were able to see it in advance.  watching the industrial revolution scene in person was surprisingly moving, especially when the olympic rings rose up and forged together in the air.  there was a magnificent, awe-inspiring quality to it that i felt the television didn't quite capture.  there's just something about being there in person, seeing the huge scale of it, hearing the loud music, feeling the beat of the drums shaking the whole stadium, and feeding off the energy from a crowd of 80,000 - that you can't get from a living room tv.
not long after, they began drilling us with back-to-back rehearsals for the paralympics opening ceremony.  rehearsals were mostly nights and weekends, with a few all-day rehearsals leading up to the performance day.  a lot of the rehearsing lasted for hours on end, and were so tiring, especially when we moved to a large outdoor space in dagenham, where we repeated the dance moves for 5hrs in the blazing heat on scorching asphalt.  arrgghh...  made me miss the previous venue, 3 Mills Studio, a nice and cool indoor space.  finally, several days before showtime, we moved to rehearsing inside the olympic stadium itself, which was very exciting - never got tired of it. =)
all the hard work was worth it, 'cause performing on that day was just unforgettable!  although, very nerve-wracking; waiting backstage to go into that huge stadium filled with people felt uncannily like that scene in gladiator, where the guy pees himself before entering the arena. =P  but fortunately (and i can only speak for myself), once i got onto the stage, i thought it was very much like rehearsals.  i couldn't see the audience at all because of the lighting, and the many athletes seated in front of us also weren't that jarring, since the crew and staff usually sat in those seats during rehearsals.  so it all felt same ol' same ol' - except for the fact that the ground was absolutely soaking wet from the day's rain.  halfway through dancing, i noticed my dress was dripping wet at the hems, and it didn't help that we had to lie down at the very end of our routine, so after performing, my entire back was soaked through!
overall, however, it went very smoothly and was simply a phenomenal experience.  i know that it didn't air live in the states, so if you missed it, i'll leave you with a video of it - definitely worth a watch!  (i'm one of the many blue-dress floor dancers in the ocean/whale scene towards the end - probably impossible to spot =P).  and if you ever get the chance to attend or participate in an olympics or paralympics event, then DO IT!!  it will be the most incredible and inspiring experience.

. rese