by Issie Lloyd, Dance Development Worker
After two months of intense training with some of the UK’s top Lindy-Hoppers, B-boys and Tappers, the huge mass of dancers and volunteers (over one thousand) in our NHS dance piece waited nervously backstage of the Olympic Stadium, ready to dazzle billions of people worldwide! I can honestly say that this was one of the most exciting and proudest moments of my dance career. As we walked out into the stadium and took our places, the sheer mass of people took my breath away. A total of 80,000 people in the audience started cheering, the lights lit up and the atmosphere grew wild. The hard work paid off as the entire cast performed to the best of their ability and danced to the world.
I spent the two months leading up to the Olympics living in London and doing what I love to do best…….DANCING! I had the pleasure of working with some of the UK’s most talented dancers and what a lovely bunch they all were. With over two hundred professional dancers and over eight hundred volunteers, you can imagine the sheer scale of work and organisation that had to be put into place. Throughout the first month the professional dancers were split into the categories/roles in which they would be learning for the piece – Lindy-hop (doctors), B-boying (dementors), tap (dementors), contact work and contemporary (Cruella Devilles dalmations). I was placed as a Lindy-hopping doctor, which was super fun! Luckily I had started training Lindy-hop in preparation for this job. Once all the categories had mastered their sections we took the piece to the Stadium to rehearse with the volunteers and practice the piece to full scale with all sections running side by side. The feeling of rehearsing in the Olympic Stadium sent shivers up my spine, the reality of it all never quite sunk in until we were stood in front of 60,000 people on our dress rehearsal!
This opportunity has been a once in a lifetime experience and a precious one at that! All the people I met along the way were truely talented gems. Everyone was supportive of one another and the energy was magical. I feel truly honoured to have been a part of the UK’s Olympic Opening Ceremony, an experience I will never forget! A huge thank you to Valley and Vale for letting me take this time off to participate in this job, as always their support is endless!