Olympic committee hosts performer auditions

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    Though few will ever achieve Olympic stardom, the chances of being in front of a worldwide Olympic audience will become a reality for some Utah individuals.

    The Salt Lake City Olympic Committee is currently holding auditions for volunteers to perform at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics. Those selected to be volunteer cast members will perform at the Olympic venues, lives sites and medal ceremonies, as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

    According to the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee Web site, as many as 3.5 billion people around the world will be watching the Olympics. Performers are invited to audition with a group, or as an individual.

    Esther Covington, 25, from State College, Pennsylvania, a Theatre and media arts graduate student, individually auditioned three weeks ago for the Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Alta High School in Salt Lake City.

    Covington, along with 40 other auditioners, was taught a basic dance combination which was performed in groups of five in front of 10-15 judges and a video camera.

    “The judges said that what they look for the most is enthusiasm, and excitement, third important was ability.” Covington said. “They told us that out of the 21,000 people auditioning they would cast 8000 individual performers.”

    Despite the large number of auditioners, Covington was very impressed with the atmosphere of the auditions.

    “I expected to be treated like a number, but the judges made every effort to make you feel that you are special. They had Olympic music playing, and it was very exciting.”

    According to Covington, the judges said those selected would be told by the middle of September at the earliest.

    Those selected should expect more than simple fun and games. A serious level of commitment is needed for all those volunteer cast members.

    Fifteen-year-old Kami Wilkins, from Pleasant Grove, recently went through Olympic auditions with her group, Tip Top Express Cloggers. The group consists of 16 girls between the ages of 12-16. Wilkins acknowledged the dedication needed for those performance groups chosen.

    “If selected we’d begin with one practice a week, then two, then as it gets closer to the Olympics it’d get up to four practices every week.” Wilkins said. “The judges told us we’re supposed to be prepared to learn any kind of dancing, from hip hop to modern dance – just anything,”

    Despite the pressures of high school and extra curricular activities, combined with the potential demands of performing in the Olympics, Wilkins said her group would be prepared.

    “We went into it with the attitude that we could do anything no matter what, if we have to we’ll even skip school – it’s just a great opportunity.” Wilkins said.

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