Kiwi dances for millions at Olympics
Sun, 29 Jul 2012 12:39p.m.
Ceilidh MacDonald tries to say she's not a natural when it comes to hip hop dancing.
Anyone who watched the New Zealand High Commission public diplomacy manager performing for hundreds of millions in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony would beg to differ.
The London-based 29-year-old from Havelock North entered an online ballot to perform in the ceremony as "a bit of a joke".
Much to her surprise, she got called back for a second audition after some dancing exercises, when she discovered she was auditioning for hip hop dancing.
"I thought that would be the end of my journey as I definitely don't have natural hip hop abilities," she said.
"But I got through and started rehearsals in April."
Then followed several hours of auditions every weekend and, in recent weeks, auditions every night - not easy when balancing a job helping visiting dignitaries and media at the High Commission.
"We didn't have to wear nappies like the Chinese [at the Beijing 2008 ceremony] but it was pretty full on - I definitely discovered some muscles I didn't know I had."
She danced in a section called Thanks Tim about connecting on the internet - a tribute to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web - and found herself more connected than ever.
"We were almost screaming with excitement, knowing that the world was watching. It made us all feel really connected with the world," she said.
"I've also had people I haven't spoken to for 10 years get back in touch on my Facebook page, which was fitting given the segment I was in was about connecting."
The Olympics isn't over yet for MacDonald - there's still plenty of work for the High Commission - but Friday night's ceremony will be hard to top.
"I've never experienced anything like it and I doubt I will ever experience anything like it again."
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