Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alumna will dance in the Olympics opening ceremony

When Mary-Elizabeth Carter White ’90 learned that she could audition to dance in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, she hesitated. Should she really try out? Most of the other dancers would be many years younger than her. The rehearsal schedule would be demanding.

But then she recalled the words of Doug Hamby, a dancer and choreographer who visited Randolph when she was a student. When Hamby did not cast White for a dance he choreographed for an annual show, he gave her one piece of advice: “Be bold.”

Watch the Opening Ceremony
Friday, July 27, 9 p.m. London
NBC broadcast in the U.S. at 7 p.m. Eastern
Alumna Mary-Elizabeth Carter White ’90 will be in a group that starts performing about 57 minutes into the program.
“Now, I often think to myself, ‘Be bold,’ before I throw myself into new adventures,” White said. “His two little words made a huge impact on me.’

With that inspiration, she signed up to try out. After two exhausting auditions, she was offered a role, and she will be one of the thousands of performers on stage Friday night.

White, who now lives in England, majored in economics, but she also studied dance under Pam Risenhoover, who still leads the dance program today, and the visiting artists Risenhoover brought in. While she was in England for Randolph’s signature study abroad program in Reading, England, she met her husband.

“I don’t think I realized how lucky I was with R-MWC dance,” White said. “The exposure to so many different styles and teachers helped me when I headed to London and started dance classes there.”

White said she has not danced professionally, but she is a “passionate amateur” whose career has centered on performing arts. She has worked at English National Opera, Warner Brothers, and now a theatre group in Putney, London.

Dance rehearsals for the opening ceremony began in April, White said. Her shortest rehearsal was five hours long. The longest rehearsal ran for 10 hours. While it was hard work, she got to meet many other skilled dancers who have prepared an impressive show. “This is a hugely talented bunch of people, and I am so proud to be a part of it,” she said. “I am a mere cog in the whole thing, but I am having a grand time doing what I love—dancing!”
Olympic Stadium in London

White doubts that anyone watching the opening ceremony on television would be able to pick her out of the crowd, but she says her group’s performance is not to be missed—although she is sworn to secrecy about what the performance actually includes. You’ll have to tune in for the surprise.

The opening ceremony will take place on Friday, July 27, at 9 p.m. London Time (4 p.m. Eastern), but NBC will broadcast a recording at 7 p.m. Eastern. White’s group is scheduled to dance starting 57 minutes into the ceremony.