Last 10th February, 2006 Kataklò took part in an event of world importance: the Opening Ceremony of the XX Olympic Winter Games Torino 2006. The values of brotherhood and dialogue among peoples and cultures, which make the Games different from any other sport event, together with the Italian style and creativity have been represented and described through a unique scenery, a team choreography, excellent light effects and an unforgettable soundtrack. In that occasion Kataklò had the task to perform the choreography of one of the segments which composed the whole show.

As in most of the Ceremony, 149 volunteer performers have been engaged. They have been accurately selected under the artistic direction of Giulia Staccioli and required to be strongly involved both physically and emotionally. The long and careful work, supported by Kataklò’s experience, and the great enthusiasm and participation of everyone, brought to the overcoming of all the difficulties and to the sacrifice sharing with a real ‘Olympic spirit’.

Olympic Spirit – Citius, Altius, Fortius is exactly the title of the segment performed by Kataklò.

How the idea of the Five Rings was born
The close collaboration between Giulia Staccioli and the Company which has organized the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games – FILM MASTER GROUP’s K2006 – under the direction of the Executive Producer and Creative Director Marco Balich and the supervision of the Art Director Lida Castelli, began in 2003.

The idea for this sort of structure was born in Milan, at Film Master’s offices, from a suggestion and a simple prototype made by Giulia Staccioli. An excellent team has joined its forces to build the structure. The music, specially composed by the brilliant Michele Centonze, in collaboration with Stefano Nanni, has become the leit motiv of the Games and the costumes, made by the Oscar-awarded Costume Designer Gabriella Pescucci, have highlighted the dancers’ statuesque bodies.

Thanks to the supervision and creativity of the Production Designer Mark Fisher, the project has evolved to become a complex and sophisticated structure, the result of an engineering study which took almost a year and was carried out in Italy, England and Belgium. The Five Rings, the biggest ones ever built, are in fact five independent lifts with a diameter of 7 metres each, very technological, made of aluminium and able to reach a maximum height of 18 metres.

> The choreography

24 dancers (12 Kataklò dancers and 12 volunteers) perform the choreography on three rings which move up and down parallel to the ground, alternatively at different heights. The choreography, including movements and performances from Kataklò’s shows Livingston, beyond the limits and Up-Vertical Energies, is based on the idea of an aerial round dance which refers to the Olympic Spirit as for the joy, non-violence and elimination of any form of hierarchy. Through acrobatic movements and with the support of slings and safety ropes, the dancers perform the show with the utmost naturalness. 16 volunteer dancers are positioned on the two rings which remain down throughout the show and they perform pairs movements (men are slung and fastened to the structure with two ropes fixed on the rings’ banisters).

41 volunteer gymnasts, called “Spiders” and 41 volunteer “Dancers” perform the choreography on the ground around the Five Rings structure which forms the heart of the segment.

At the end of the choreography, all the performers leave the structure and a surprise stage effect reveals the greatest homage the Olympic Spirit has ever received in an Opening Ceremony: the Five Rings reach the upright position revealing their symbolic significance and building a huge gateway through which the athletes of the participating nations make their entry.

For the realization of this segment, in particular of the choreography on the Upper Rings, the Company and volunteer performers have done almost 200 hours of rehearsals which began in May 2005 and became more and more frequent till the day of the Ceremony. In addition, some volunteers, among those who performed on the Lower Rings, were trained to replace the performers on the Upper Rings, if necessary.

For the staging of this segment, besides the athletes’ performances, other professional figures have been engaged in this careful work:

1 Production Director, 4 Ground Choreography Assistants, 1 Rigger and Andrea Zorzi for the Kataklò Athletic Dance Theatre.

1 Technical Director, 1 Segment Coordinator, 1 Ground Choreography Assistant and 4 Riggers for K2006.

Thanks to the creativity and dedication of everyone an idea has taken a shape and the Five Rings have become an icon of the most attracting and exciting moments of the XX Olympic Winter Games Torino 2006, both for choreography and ceremonial.