Engineer to dance at the Olympics

The world will be watching London on Friday 27 July when the London 2012 Olympic Games opens with a glittering ceremony to celebrate the start of the most important sporting event of the calendar.

Bath engineering graduate Catherine Stambouzou will be one of 10,000 dancers that will help to create a spectacular show, expected to be watched by one billion people around the globe.

Catherine took up dance as a student at Bath and was a member of the Students’ Union’s Bodysoc dance group. She mainly dances hip hop and other modern styles but tried different forms of dance through Bodysoc and describes the society’s annual performance as “the best week of University.”

Now she’s in rehearsals for one of the biggest shows on Earth, under the creative direction of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, best known for his box office hits including Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours.

He has paid tribute to the thousands of volunteers, cast and crew who are rehearsing night and day to make the Opening Ceremony a success.

Catherine spotted an advert for the auditions while she was in London for a job interview.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity for non-professional dancers to be involved in the Olympics and to be part of such a high profile event,” she said. “We’re rehearsing in small groups and then as the Games get closer the rehearsals really step up. It’s a big commitment.  Obviously the organisers want the Ceremony to be a huge surprise for the world, so we know very little yet.”

Catherine’s talents stretch beyond the dance floor. She works as an implant engineer at Stanmore Implants based in Elstree where she is working on a project to develop a novel method for attaching prosthetic limbs directly to the skeleton, without the use of a socket. It’s an idea which stands to have many benefits for the amputee.

It was the ‘human’ element of medical engineering that appealed to Catherine, and she enjoys the fact that she is working in an up and coming field with regular medical and technological breakthroughs.

“My job leaves me with little time for regular dance classes and that’s why I’m so grateful for the Olympic opportunity because it means that as well as being part of the Games I’ll be dancing on a weekly basis!

“I’m so excited about the Ceremony. I’ve lived in lots of different countries around the world and actually being part of the Games has made me feel much more patriotic.”

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