The London 2012 Olympic Games not only showcased athletes from the University of Bristol – our students were in the Closing Ceremony too!
The 24-strong Rag Morris and Folk Club danced with Eric Idle during his performance of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’, and dancers Nadia Abdulla and Hermione Leach performed with esteemed former Royal Ballet Principal Darcey Bussell in the show’s finale.
Nadia Abdulla spoke of her experience:
“There are no words to describe those 24 hours. It was one of a kind, the best of my life. An unbelievable and truly unforgettable experience. Darcey Bussell was amazing to work with – an inspirational and lovely lady.”
Hermione Leach added:
“I had the time of my life being part of the greatest show on earth. I feel so privileged to be part of such a huge event. These memories will stay with me forever.”
Through funding from UBU and other sources, the Rag Morris and Folk Club were able to pay for their transport to and from London for rehearsals and were able to make their own costumes.
Charlotte Smith, President of the Club said:
“When the invitation came to us in early February there was a general air of shock and incredulity amongst us all. We went for an audition in London and then eagerly awaited the response. When the news came through that we’d been accepted, we were ecstatic!”
Six months of keeping their participation a secret came to a culmination on August 12th when they took to the stage with roller-skating nuns, a male Welsh voice choir in traditional female Welsh dress, a Scottish pipe band, bhangra dancers, models dressed as angels, other Morris dancers and a human cannon ball.
“Every face I saw whilst dancing had a brilliant smile on it, with the whole thing coming together to create a fitting celebration of British humour. As the human cannonball fired across the stadium, the realisation that we had finally done it sunk in and there was an immense feeling of pride amongst everyone involved.”
The three hour extravaganza featured more than 4,100 performers and celebrated the incredible sporting feats of athletes from around the world.
Martha West, Vice President of Activities at UBU said:
“I was absolutely thrilled to hear that the Rag Morris and Folk Club were going to be performing at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. It's a real testament to how good the club is and a reminder of the quality activities that we have here at Bristol. I want to congratulate the club and all those involved for an amazing achievement – definitely something to tell the grandkids!”