Olympic Closing Ceremony

Bristol morris dancers take to the stage at the Olympic Closing Ceremony

Members of the University of Bristol Rag Morris were watched by millions of people around the world as we performed at the closing ceremony for London 2012, celebrating the best of British music and dance.

A total of 24 of our dancers took to the stage in the Olympic Stadium for the performance of their lives.

It was the climax of months of secrecy and excitement. Rag Morris’ amazing journey began in February with an invitation to audition, having been put forward by the organisers of the Great Caper.

After a nerve-racking audition, we were selected to perform alongside Blackheath Morris Men, who are based in south east London.

Getting ready for our biggest gig ever took a lot of time and hard work. Charlotte Smith, President of Rag Morris, said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with the creative team for the ceremony, to spend time in London when it is so busy and vibrant, and to take part in a performance that showcased some of the best of British music and dance to the rest of the world.”

Both groups danced in styles originating from the Cotswold Hills. Many villages have their own style of dancing and Rag Morris’ performance at the ceremony was based on that from Bampton in the Bush, in Oxfordshire.

Peter Rowlstone, Squire of Rag Morris, said: “Initially we were worried that the organisers would want to change our style or ask us to do something that wasn’t morris dancing, but that was not the case and it’s been a really positive experience. They wanted a morris side that would be bright, cheerful and vibrant, which suited our style perfectly.”

As rehearsals progressed we discovered we would be performing on stage with Eric Idle, an opera singer, roller skating nuns, Roman soldiers, angels, Bhangra dancers, Blackheath Morris Men, Scottish pipers and a cross-dressing Welsh rugby choir in a rendition of 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'. Our big performance can be seen in this part of the official broadcast. We're dressed in our red and green, one off, made especially for the occasion, Olympic kit. You can also see us in this great video filmed from within the crowd, we're the ones rocking the red trousers and hankies! As the ceremony came to an end we all got to party on the centre stage as fireworks and confetti were shooting overhead and The Who played live in the background.

It truly was an amazing experience for all involved!

Check out our gallery of photos from the event here and have a read of the report from our President of the society, Charlotte Smith, here.

A larger group of Rag Morris also danced in the Olympic Park outside the Olympic Stadium on Friday, 10th August. Check out some photos of the day here.