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Basingstoke dancer performs at Olympics with Annie Lennox
A BASINGSTOKE dancer was watched by millions of people across the world when he performed on stage with Annie Lennox at the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony.
Tom Russell was one of three people from Basingstoke who successfully auditioned to take part in the show.
He spent three months rehearsing at a car park in Dagenham, where a replica of the Olympic Stadium stage was set up.
The 21-year-old street dance teacher was chosen to play a ghost Victorian, joining Annie as she emerged on the figurehead of a ghost galleon to sing Little Bird.
Tom, from Gilbert Close, Popley, danced a three-minute routine before the ship faded in smoke. He said: “It was amazing. I wasn’t actually nervous until I walked out into the stadium and saw all the people there. I was trying to block it out so I could remember the routine. The music kicked in and Annie Lennox appeared, and the roar from the crowd was unforgettable.”
Tom, who is part of Feel the Beat dance club in Kingsclere, rehearsed with the Scottish singer just five times before the actual show, but said dancers were asked not to approach her.
He had the chance to walk around the stadium before the ceremony, and said: “We had no idea what the stadium was like.
“Me and a friend who I met up there walked around while they were setting it up and it looked really small in comparison to what it looks like on TV, but when it was filled with all the people it was huge.”
Sue Foyle also took part Sunday’s ceremony.
The 41-year-old from Chineham had already performed in the Opening Ceremony as a drummer, and was asked to return to the closing event as a marshal.
Dressed in an unusual costume with a light bulb attached to a hat on her head, the musical director for the Basingstoke Gangshow, said: “It was like a big rock concert. I have never been that close to the Spice Girls or Take That.”
Sue, who works at her family’s business Foyles Newsagents, in London Street, Basingstoke, was part of the team responsible for ensuring the athletes were safe, and along with the other volunteers, she lined the edges of the Union Jack stage, lighting it up.