Dispatch: The International Olympic Committee Session Opening Ceremony
The Post's Robin Givhan was the White House pool reporter for the opening ceremony of the 121st International Olympic Committee Session in Copenhagen Thursday. Her report follows.
Your pool was on hold on the second floor foyer of the Opera House at about 5:20pm when guests began to arrive to the strains of a chamber orchestra.
The setting, Copenhagen's Opera House, home to the Royal Danish Orchestra -- among several Royal Danish musical ensembles -- was glorious. The building, with its central sphere-shaped auditorium, sits waterside. There were dramatically overcast skies with just a bit of early evening sun glinting off the water. Boats sailed along the waterway and historic buildings were visible in the distance.
Inside, small tables covered in white linen were sprinkled throughout but the only munchies your pooler could see were breadsticks. Where pray tell were the canapes? Perhaps they arrived after your pool was ushered into the auditorium.
The delegations arrived and sat grouped together stage right. Oprah Winfrey -- hair smooth and pulled off her face was dressed in black (sorry, couldn't see the full frock) and seated to the right of Chicago mayor Richard Daley. They were up front although not in the front row.
7:02 p.m. Lula is in the house -- President of Brazil, that is. Waves. Hugs. Cameras focus on him.
Michelle Obama arrives in a pumpkin satin cocktail dress -- full skirt, sleeveless and with criss-crossing straps in the back. No, it is not a warm evening in Copenhagen. But there is no weather in a motorcade. She sits to Oprah's right.... So to recap: We have in a row, Daley, Oprah, Mrs. Obama.
We do not manage to eyeball other heads of state.
Ceremony begins with the Danish National Anthem and that is followed by the Olympic hymn.
Speeches ensue by various Olympic officials including IOC president Jacques Rogge. Welcoming remarks from Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who manages to merge athleticism with global warming -- referencing the upcoming summit on climate change that will take place in Copenhagen.
Then the dancing began. First up was the Jockey Dance by The Royal Danish Ballet.
Next was "Uncontaminated" a fabulously dramatic modern ballet performed by dancers in chocolate brown leotards and a perfectly exquisite lead ballerina.
Next came a song about springtime in Denmark. Then more classical ballet.
The Danish National Girls Choir sings "Plant a Tree." The song is all about uplift and what the individual can do to make the world a better place. A psychedelic tree grows on a video screen behind the girls who end their song by posing like trees.
The Youth Ballet of the Royal Danish Theater performs -- ballet, hiphop, jazz -- and exude much youthful vigor and underscore a message that the youth are our future. Much charm oozed across the stage.
The evening ends with a George Balanchine ballet "Symphony in C." It was performed by the Royal Danish Ballet. Music by Bizet.
Your pool was hustled through the mingling and eating dignitaries. (The food arrived!!!) A Frank Sinatra song "The Lady is a Tramp" is being crooned as we make our exit.
Addendum: Both Valerie Jarret and Susan Sher, the first lady's chief of staff, were in attendance.
Posted at 3:31 PM ET on Oct 1, 2009
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