- Title: CHINA: Olympic mascots get ready for Games
- Date: 26th July 2008
- Summary: W3) BEIJING, CHINA (JULY 25, 2008) (REUTERS) PEOPLE PERFORMING IN MASCOT COSTUMES DANCERS IN COSTUMES WAVING AT PEOPLE DANCERS POSING DANCERS IN COSTUMES WAVING FLAG WITH CHEERLEADERS DANCING A FEMALE DANCER DRESSED IN MASCOT COSTUME CHEERLEADERS WALKING PAST DANCERS WITH BOXING GLOVES OLYMPIC MASCOT ON A PARADE CAR WITH PERFORMERS DANCING
- Embargoed: 10th August 2008 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA87YLRJKK9J7ZBO96TEW7N5K5H
- Story Text: Olympic mascot parade rehearsals to entertain tourists and athletes with a great show at the Beijing Games.
Beijing Children's Theatre rehearsed its newest show with more than 180 professional dancers and five parade cars on Friday (July 25).
Nerves are always tight ahead of the big day, but this time there is additional pressure. The group's newest show isn't just for children, this time the audiences will be Olympic tourists and athletes from all around the world.
From August 9 - 23, the dancers will perform at Beijing's Olympic Green Park twice a day.
The 40-minute-long show has performers divided into five groups, each representing one Olympic mascot.
Beijing in 2006 unveiled a line-up of five Olympic mascots, which features a panda, Tibetan antelope, a swallow, a fish and the spirit of the Olympic flame.
The five Olympic mascots are named "Beibei", "Jingjing", "Huanhuan", "Yingying" and "Nini", which together form the Chinese words for "Beijing welcomes you." Coloured in the five hues of the Olympic rings, they also represent the sea, forests, fire, earth and air.
Wang Bingran, director of the parade said it took them six months to put the show together.
"We hope this show can be a party. It's a enjoyable event. What elements can create fun and passion? We try looking for these elements in the mascots. For example, hip hop. We used hip hop for the panda mascot. Pandas are cool." Wang said.
Over 3,000 professional dancers competed for a part on the show but only 183 made the final troupe. The dancers come from dance schools, dance troupes and model agencies.
One performer, a 15-year-old dance school student, said it was an honour to be selected for the Olympic extravaganza.
"I hope that foreign tourists see that Chinese people are hospitable and smart and we are the best nation," he said.
In addition to the dancers, 29 models put on a special fashion show as the ending part of the parade. Each model shows off a symbol of a previous Olympic host city.
Beijing's Organizing Committee of the Games (BOCOG) wanted to put on the show starting from August 9, just one day after the Games opening ceremony in the Olympic Green park.
Zhao Dongming, official with the BOCOG, said the show was designed to make the Games more accessible to people who didn't have tickets to see the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
"There will be limited number of people going to see the opening of the Olympic Games. But we can bring joy and delight to more people through other events," he said.
However, not everyone would be lucky enough to see it. Only officials, athletes and Olympic ticket holders can enter the park.
For the opening ceremony of the Olympic games on August 8, ticket price goes up to 700 U.S. dollars (USD) each.
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