Volunteers in dance off

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With less than two months to go before the start of auditions on 1 May 2009, the Vancouver Organising Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is looking for 7,500 applications to create a strong pool from which to select.

In the two weeks since the call for volunteers was issued, close to 3, 200 applications have already been received through www. vancouver2010. com/ceremonies. "The sooner interested candidates apply online by filling out an application at www. vancouver2010. com/ceremonies, the sooner they can find out if they have been successful in landing an audition, " explained David Atkins, executive producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. "We need performers to bring our mass choreography to life on the floor of BC Place. But, just as importantly, we need performance volunteers to act as athlete marshals, placard bearers to lead countries into the stadium and audience leaders who'll help spectators participate in the show. "Previous experience is not a requirement for the performers, dancers and athletes of all types and skills needed to stage the iconic mega–productions. Volunteer performers must be 17 or older by 1 May 2009 to apply; there is no upper age limit. Applications received to date include an entire women's hockey team, hundreds of dancers of all varieties, including two men's capoeira (an Afro–Brazilian dance form) groups, and hopeful performers from almost every Canadian province and territory. Twenty–three per cent of the volunteer applications have come from men; statistically, this means male performers and athletes have a greater chance of getting a call to audition and participate in the Ceremonies. Outside of British Columbia, Ontario has the greatest number of applicants at four per cent, followed by Alberta at two per cent. Approximately half of all applicants have also signed up to be a performer in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, which start on 12 March 2010. Tickets to the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies go on sale on 6 May 2009. For more information on ways to participate in the ceremonies, Canadians should visit www. vancouver2010. com/ceremonies.

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