London 2012

2012 was a great year for London with the unprecedented success of the Olympics and Paralympics. The people, transport, volunteers, police and Team GB – everybody delivered during those weeks. And so did the dancers who took part in both opening and closing ceremonies.

It’s probably safe to say that every professional dancer in the UK (not necessarily all British at all, which was great) auditioned to get a part in any of the ceremonies. It would be an opportunity of a lifetime for any dancer.

There were hundreds of spaces available taking into consideration the scale of the performance but many thousands were fighting to get these. Many auditioned and the standard was incredibly high as it could be seen during the ceremonies. But only those who took part can fully appreciate the effort and the commitment the task required. Starting from the 4 hours auditions at various stages, having to take long holidays from the day to day jobs, arranging covers for classes, etc. Basically they had to live, breathe and eat the Olympics.

Total 100% dedication was required for the months of rehearsals. It meant countless studio hours, big stuffy tent rehearsals and hours of run-throughs in the rain drenched concrete car park in Dagenham.

But the experience was priceless – working with the best of the best: both fellow dancers of all styles and the choreographers. They witnessed ideas and routines being born that some never considered possible like people flying and performing crazy stunts. The performers became tight friends due to the sheer amount of time they spent together day in day out and being united by the secrecy. Many of these friendships will last a lifetime just as it happened in the case of Isaac Vitamin Baptiste and Peter Johnson where a business partnership was born.

Both Vitamin and Peter were taking part in the Opening Ceremony for London 2012 Olympics. Peter danced as one of the lindy hop doctors in the part dedicated to the NHS while Vitamin was one of the frightening breakin’ dementors dressed all in black scaring the children in the Great Ormond Street hospital beds section.

Being selected to be a professional dancer at the opening ceremony was such a great honour and the biggest turning point of my dancing career. No words can describe it! – Vitamin

They were thrilled to work under Sunanda Biswas and her dance partner Temujin Gill who in turn were approached by Danny Boyle himself who was so impressed by their work he invited them to choreograph the greatest show on earth. As we read on B-Boy News website ( ): ‘Sunanda Biswas, B-girl SunSun, choreographed the NHS/children’s story time section of the Olympic Opening Ceremony. One minute 200 kids were laying in their beds on the brink of certain death, the next, their nurses broke out into 1920s Charleston and J.K.Rowling appeared in the centre of the stage with an effigy of Lord Voldemont.’

I trained for 2 months to learn and master new and challenging routines, working day and night to refine elements of the dance for the final opening show. The event was a great success and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am so proud I was part of it. – Peter Johnson

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