Darcey in the plumage of the Phoenix

Christopher Wheeldon gave a whole new meaning to the Firebird with his choreography for the final minutes of the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony.

In an all too brief appearance, the former Royal Ballet principal, Darcey Bussell, descended into the stadium as a phoenix while the cauldron flames were extinguished.

She was joined by her former colleagues, Gary Avis, Edward Watson, Nehemiah Kish and Jonathan Cope at ground level, along with a 200-strong ensemble of dancers.

The music for the balletic finish to the ceremony was by David Arnold. I wish I knew who designed the dramatic (and flame resistant) costumes!

Bussell returned to London from Sydney last month to prepare for the ceremony, to teach at the Royal Ballet School summer school, and to conduct numerous interviews for her role as a judge in the new series of the TV show, Strictly Come Dancing.

Scroll down to see all the photos.

Here’s a clip of the ensemble rehearsing.

One Comment

  1. Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    I only heard Channel 9 say the Royal Ballet segment was “The Spirit of the Flame”, and not making the phoenix connection, wondered what the bird was. As a sideline why do we still burn so much gas in those Olympic cauldrons. What a waste of precious resource. Thanks, Valerie

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Darcey Bussell as the Phoenix
Rehearsal for the final moments of the closing ceremony
Two dancers from the ensemble, backstage at London 2012 closing ceremony
Darcey held aloft by the four Royal Ballet principals
London 2012 closing ceremony:   Edward Watson, Jonathan Cope, Darcey Bussell, Gary Avis and Nehemiah Kish: photo © Reuters/Gary Hershorn
Darcey makes her entrance
Christoper Wheeldon, Alistair Marriott and Darcey Bussell (centre) flanked by the four Royal Ballet principals