Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blogging Ravelympics 2

Did you watch the opening of the Olympics? It was a spectacular preformance of Chinese history shown through the Arts. The entire display started at 7:30 pm and ended after 11 pm when I went to bed... I was excited to finally be able to relax with my sweetheart and watch it while knitting my Ravelypics shawl! By the end of the opening ceremonies, I had completed 50 rows of the Shetland triangle:

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It doesn't look like much - more like a wrinkly newborn at the moment. But it's getting more challenging because the rows get longer and longer as I go, instead of shorter and shorter. I much prefer shawls that start at the long end and work towards the point...my enthusiasm and energy is always greater at the beginning of a project. Still, I'm going to work through any doldrums and finish my shawl event! I am! I am! (cheering myself on)

The Olympic ceremonies were held in the Bird's Nest stadium that was built in downtown Beijing:

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From the video of the surrounding area that they showed, it appeared to be in or near the college district of the city.

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The performance started with very early civilization in China, and went forward through history to the present time and then the future, and even to hopes for the future. The broadcast I watched (actually the only broadcast available in my area) didn't show every performance and also cut out some due to commercials, so I didn't see all of it, sadly. The show used thousands of dancers, acrobats, artists, musicians, actors, costume designers and light technicians. The whole spectacle took place on a moving scroll that opened and unwound on the stadium floor.

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One of the early performances showed Chinese longboats and exploration on the ocean:

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Another was of the Imperial Court period, and the court ladies:

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You can't see it very well in the picture, but this dancer is dancing on a thin flexible platform upheld on poles, each pole held by one of a hundred men. She had to dance and keep her balance at the same time as they walked around the scroll!

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The performances representing modern times used technology and light in an amazing way. This huge globe rose out of the scroll. At first it changed shape and colour to represent the various heavenly bodies in our solar system, then it glowed from within to show Earth, with the oceans and continents, then people's faces from around the world began to appear on the globe and dancers and acrobats scampered and twirled around it - sideways, upside down, running, walking, dancing, flipping - it was incredible!

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In this long view you can see the image of whales swirling in the ocean around the stadium, and the dancers suspended on wires that "flew" through the air around the globe to represent the good spirits who bless the earth. The thousands of little lights that look like stars are actually the attendees on thier seats around the stadium. On top of the globe stand Sarah Brightman and a very prominent Chinese singer. They sang a lovely ballad in both Chinese and English.

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Protecting water, the environment, and children were very prominent themes throughout the Ceremony's performances. Quite often school children were included in the performances, child performers of around 8 years old took the stage with amazing voices and musical abilities, and images of children were used to illustrate that everything was about the future, their future. The numbers of little ones who took part in these artistic symbolic performances was amazing. Here you see the 'light dancers' - one of my favorite parts - surrounding a photograph of a Chinese child. I think the dancers represented raindrops or water, and this particular dance had been about protecting the environment. It had started out with a group of Chinese school children in a classroom in the middle, with two of their teachers, and they were learning about the world's environment.

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One of the final dances also involved light dancers, this time, all in white. They formed this dove, which lit up the stadium and as they danced back and forth, the wings of the dove moved as though it were flying.

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It was a beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring artistic display. So many times, my eyes filled with tears at the touching messages, and the hainting music. So many performances took my breath away!

The reality of politics seemed far away. But my appreciation of these ceremonies does not mean that I accept China's political policies and stances - not at all. I believe that no one is free until we all are are free, and that alone will preserve this earth for the future of all the world's children.

Tibet:

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1 comment:

Dagný said...

Hi Sophia! :)
I missed the opening ceremony(although I'll probably watch it online sometime soon) but me and my sweetheart(who loves the Olympics) have been watching artistic gymnastics for the past days, and those athletes are just incredible!

Well, it's time for me to go to work. Enjoy knitting that shawl, looks fantastic already! :)
- Dagný