A performer practises during rehearsals for the opening ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai in the centerpiece Al Wasl dome. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai’s opening ceremony on September 30 will feature hundreds of performers in a 90-minute show, with creative directors and performers providing a behind-the-scene glimpse of the rehearsals on Friday. The opening ceremony will be held in the iconic Al Wasl Plaza at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.

Dazzling costumes and projections will reflect the diverse nature and landscapes of the UAE, while the entire ceremony personifies Expo’s theme and purpose to “connect minds and create the future”, with more than 1,000 performers and technical crew, drawn from the UAE and around the world, coming together.

The ‘Opening Ceremony’ will be broadcast to a global audience of millions across multiple channels, including Expo TV. The six-month-long Expo begins on October 1, with the opening ceremony is scheduled to be held on September 30.

Projection screen

Using music, dance, drama and projection, the ceremony will give audiences around the world their first experience of Expo 2020’s centrepiece, Al Wasl Plaza – demonstrating the cutting-edge technology that will bring Al Wasl dome, the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen, to life.

The Opening Ceremony will take spectators on a journey across Expo’s subthemes of ‘Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability’, showcasing the values of the UAE and the vision and purpose of the Expo, while welcoming the mega-event’s 192 participating countries. Headline acts will be announced shortly.

‘Breath-taking experience’

Amna Abulhoul, Executive Creative Director, Events and Entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The opening ceremony is a breath-taking experience. It is not something that I can explain through words. It will trigger something inside you, something that will make you feel that you are ready to change the world.”

Kate Randall, Vice President, Ceremonies and Programming, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo is all about bringing the world together and that is definitely represented in our Opening Ceremony – the cast, the crew all of the team that have worked on it also become like family, because we work so hard together for many months, for some of us many years, to bring the show to fruition.”

‘Message to the world’

Tareq Ghosheh, Chief Events and Entertainment Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “What you will see here is something huge, it’s a hybrid story of local talent working with some of the best creative and technical people in order to send a message to the world that tomorrow is better, that future generations are going to have a very optimistic and successful life, that we when we work together as human beings we can save this planet, and we can prosper as well.

Rehearsing for months

Mounir Cherkaoui, a performer and choreographer from Morocco, has been rehearsing for more than three months for the event. Inspired to take up dance after watching Michael Jackson as a young boy, he described the show as a “piece of art”.

He said: “I meet a lot of people at Expo and that’s what makes me happy. I meet different nationalities, different knowledge, and different mentalities. We are friends; we are family, that’s what I like… I can’t tell you about the show, it’s a secret, but I can tell you that it’s a piece of art. I’m so happy to dance and to be a part of this project.”

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Emirati performers

With Expo 2020 the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the largest event ever in the Arab world, the show is a moment of pride for the UAE, kick-starting 182 days of celebration in the year of the country’s Golden Jubilee.

Kate Randall said: “We are incredibly proud of our Emirati performers participating in the Opening Ceremony. For a lot of them this is the first time they will have had the opportunity to do something like this on the world stage.”