Yesterday I managed to get dressed at 4pm. I was Recovering. Not from a hangover, but from a Week of Madness. Today I still haven’t managed to get Coldplay off the constant loop running through my head, although after much scrubbing and hot water I did manage to remove (at least mostly) the thin layer of gold and blue paint left on my skin and rehearsal clothes after Sunday night’s stadium spectacular…..
In the past week we have also had the culmination of a two-year project in the shape of our Unlimited performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thursday. That meant saying goodbye (temporarily, I hope!) to the fabulous cast of 12 dancers that we worked with to make commissions from Claire Cunningham and Marc Brew, and receiving the warmest welcome that I think we’ve ever had from any crowd at QEH. It was definitely something special to be part of the Unlimited festival, and to be immersed in the wide range of work that deaf and disabled artists are making across the country and around the world. It was wonderful to see the breadth, depth, intelligence, humour, and risk being packed into the work of the artists in this small sector.
After hardly catching our breath from curtain calls and tearful, tipsy partings at the Southbank, we headed to Dagenham the next day for dress rehearsal of the Paralympics closing ceremony with Coldplay. No big deal.
The ceremony on Sunday was an absolute treat, total madness, and so much fun. I’m very happy to say that I made it through without setting anyone on fire with my flaming torch, or falling off a styrofoam boulder (though there were some near misses). Needless to say, the world of stadium shows is miles away from what we usually experience as a medium-sized contemporary dance company.
The energy and atmosphere of dancing in front of 80,000 people plus those watching at home, alongside world-famous musical acts, with fireworks, fountains, acrobats, skaters, surreal creatures, mad moving junkyard sculptures, all in celebration of a group of fantastically talented athletes who have worked so hard and accomplished so much….I can’t really describe it! The dancers and creative team we worked with on the ceremony were absolutely lovely–it was wonderful to meet and work together. It was such a pleasure to perform for athletes from all over the world, and hopefully help make their final night of celebrations unforgettable.
So, a week that was full of excitement and emotion, that left me exhausted but full of gratitude. It’s all still sinking in. To be part of the Paralympics and the Unlimited festival, which to me are celebrations of diversity, and of excellence in all its forms was really a unique experience. I hope that hosting these games will help open the minds of spectators around the world and challenge us all to look past perceived limitation, and ask what people are truly capable of.
Within this blog is a gallery of photos – one of “Yellow” taken by one of our friends in the audience, and some of us getting ready to rock backstage. And for those who missed it, you can see us bronzed beauties running around in our underpants worshipping the flaming sun by watching the YouTube video here.