So I’m going to try and put into words what it was like dancing in front of 90,000 people and millions more worldwide. But the thing is, it’s impossible to describe. What I can say is this: before I walked on that pitch, after standing in the tunnels for an hour, I thought this is surely one of the most overrated experiences of my life.
But that was obviously before I marched onto the pitch, two umbrellas in tow, to the deafening London Calling melody and the sight of 90,000 roaring football fans. Even the fact that all my eyes could see was the Barcelona colours didn’t dishearten me – and I am a pretty big United fan.
So why, I hear you think, did I proclaim performing in the Champions League Opening Ceremony was overrated?
Well, let’s just say the rehearsal period was not the most exciting. Mostly rehearsing in fields and car parks, it was not the glamorous event it had been hyped up to be. Of course, the hype mostly came from family and friends who simply couldn’t believe I’d be performing at Wembley on TV (Except ITV cut us out, miserable sods). Even still, this was the biggest project I had been – and probably will ever be– involved in, and with Ashley Wallen choreographing with his classic commercial style I was ready to dance my heart out. Apart from that didn’t get to happen, as it turns out half of us in the performance were deemed to be umbrella twirlers rather than dancers. We were treated to a slight bit of choreography in our first rehearsal, but due to unforeseen circumstances, (dodgy props shipped from China), this had to be cut. I honestly don’t mean to sound bitter, but I know everyone in my group felt that their talent was undoubtedly being wasted.
I really don’t want to sound ungrateful for this opportunity, because it truly was a once in a lifetime experience. But I don’t want my blog to be rose tinted, and the truth is that most dance jobs are going to be like this – amazingly thrilling and glamorous to the outside eye, yet behind the façade it’s long hours and irritating artistic directive decisions. In this case, that disguised part of the job also involved shivering in Wembley tunnels in fishnet tights and ripped tops for three hours before we could get on the pitch to do one run through. (You won’t believe how protective they are over that grass!)
So, I have learnt a lot from this experience, far too much to mention here. One of the greatest things I will take from it is learning to have faith in the production. No matter how negative I felt at times during the rehearsal period, for those two or three minutes on that pitch, I knew it had all been worth it. Although I felt my part in the performance, consisting of running and swishing an umbrella, was rather trivial – the footage of the whole ceremony looks incredible. It was mentioned in one rehearsal that we should all apply for the Olympic Ceremonies, as we now have the experience they’ll be looking for. At the time, I admit I thought to myself that I’d rather dress up as a hotdog and do the Macarena at a holiday camp than go through these tedious rehearsals all over again. However, looking back now, I realise that the only way I’m ever going to feel that adrenaline and excitement that I felt at Wembley is to do the next best thing – perform in the 2012 Olympics Ceremony. So check back to my blog next year to see if I surrender and take part – who knows, I may even get to throw some dance moves in this time.