Paralympic Winter Games
12 - 21 March

VANOC Announces Creative Talent Behind Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Fifteen Canadians with expertise in costumes, lighting, music, and stage direction are joining the creative team of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies 02 Sep 2009 By IPC

Vancouver, Canada – Fifteen Canadians with expertise in costumes, lighting, music, and stage direction are joining the creative team tasked with orchestrating the magical and awe-inspiring moments celebrating the dramatic achievements of Paralympians at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

They include a choreographer who strutted on stage with Janet Jackson, one of the world’s foremost B-boy dancers and an audio designer who captured the blissful “I do’s” at the wedding of the world’s richest man.

“We scoured the country for the last six months to find a great Canadian creative team to help bring alive the vision we have for inspiring the world to celebrate the possible by watching the top Paralympians reach for the performances of their lives here in Vancouver and Whistler,” said David Guscott, Executive Vice President, Celebrations and Partnerships for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

“It is with great pleasure today that we are announcing these 15 artists - many of whom are from right here in British Columbia - chosen by ceremonies producer Patrick Roberge Productions to help stage Canada’s Games,” he added.

Under Patrick Roberge’s direction, the creative team will deliver on the creative vision for the ceremonies, create mass choreography for the 5,000 volunteer performers, including performers with a disability, design lighting and audio systems, select composers and musical arrangements, as well as design sets, costumes and props.

“The team is already hard at work on creating all the elements we need to put on exciting and memorable shows - one indoor, one outdoor - in two different locations over 100 kilometres apart in less than seven months time,” said Roberge. “Our first big challenge will be to find the hundreds of volunteers we need to perform in the ceremonies before audiences around the world. We’ll be launching this search in a manner of weeks so stay tuned for more details.”

Tickets are still available for both Paralympic Ceremonies and can be purchased later this fall when Phase 3 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Ticketing Programme is launched. Tickets are CAN$30 to $175.

The ceremonies’ creative team members announced today are:

Associate Director and Head Choreographer: Jocelyn Peden

An accomplished dancer, choreographer and director, Peden has choreographed and directed the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Los Angeles Lakers and Vancouver Grizzlies dance teams, choreographed music videos and performed with artists such as Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Paul McCartney, and Canadian Olympian Emanuel Sandhu. She has also staged multiple live sport productions for VANOC.

Music Director: Paul Airey

Airey has composed and produced music for radio, TV, film, and special events for more than 20 years. Co-owner and operator of Avenue Music Productions Inc. and Sound Kitchen Studios in Vancouver, his themes, scores and jingles for clients such as Warner Bros. and the National Hockey League have been heard worldwide.

Art Director: Daniel Planko

Planko, who specializes in the concept, design and implementation of art, exhibit and event installations, has worked with photographer Annie Leibovitz, actor Alan Cumming, singer and actress Bette Midler, and was a stylist on HBO’s The Sopranos. A sitescape designer for countless production, Planko was responsible for installations at New York’s Gering & López Gallery.

Production Director: Nik Von Schulmann

For more than 20 years, Von Schulmann’s extensive experience in production, design and staging have been utilized in many large-scale productions, including the 2007 Canada Games, The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, Show Boat, Riverdance, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as Vancouver Opera’s productions of Carmen, Aida and La Bohème.

Headline Director: Shaw Saltzberg

Saltzberg is an integral part of S.L. Feldman & Associates, Canada’s largest talent agency. He has travelled the world representing his roster, which includes Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan and Diana Krall. He has also provided cultural programming for the Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Segment Director: Luca (Lazylegz) Patuelli

Patuelli has captivated audiences with his unique breakdancing for more than a decade. Born with arthrogryposis and diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, Patuelli incorporates strength with crutches to excel at dance competitions. He has performed with Kanye West and appeared on America’s Got Talent and NBC’s Today Show.

Visuals Director: Sean Nieuwenhuis

Owner of Sensory Overload Productions, Nieuwenhuis supplies multimedia design and visual presentation services to corporations, festivals and charitable organizations, including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Bid. In the theatre world, his projection design work has contributed to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Vancouver Opera and Theatre Calgary.

Costume Designer: Sheila White

White has created costume designs for nearly 25 years and worked for Jil Sander and the English Theatre of Hamburg. In Vancouver alone, she has designed for over 100 theatrical productions, most recently for Vancouver Playhouse’s The Miracle Worker. Her work has been featured in film and TV, including Da Vinci's City Hall and The Score.

Production and Lighting Designer: Robert Sondergaard

Founder of Electric Aura Lighting Design, Sondergaard has designed lighting for theatre, TV and event productions, including the opening ceremonies of the British Columbia Canada Pavilion in Beijing in 2008, Kidd Pivot’s Dark Matters, the 2007 Canada Games, the 2007 Rankin Family Canadian tour, the 21st Gemini Awards, and the Canadian Football League’s 2005 Grey Cup halftime show.

Interactive Visual Designer: Roger Parent

Parent has been involved on the cutting-edge of the entertainment and architectural design industries since the early 1970s and has collaborated on more than 5,000 shows in America, Europe and Asia. As president of Montreal-based Realisations.net, he produces interactive moving architecture for public spaces, exhibits and museums. He also helped Cirque du Soleil transform from a single touring show troupe into a multi-show company.

Interactive Visual Designer: Louis-Pierre Morin

Morin’s expertise in video projection, show control programming, sound mixing, and video editing spans many years and countless TV shows and galas. Based out of Montreal, he has worked on the Closing Ceremonies at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games and installations at Tabù, Liquidity and Eyecandy nightclubs in Las Vegas.

Stage Designer: Mark Patterson

Owner of Eclipse Productions, Gemini Award winner Patterson has produced sport and news production designs for all Canadian TV networks. He has worked on international events such as the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships and 2006 World Urban Forum.

Host Broadcast Liaison: Tim Lewis

With more than 30 years of TV and event production experience, Lewis’s credits include the 2004, 2006 and 2009 gala fundraisers An Evening with Diana Krall & Friends and the 23rd Gemini Awards. Lewis was the audio designer for the wedding of Bill Gates and sound director for the 1999 Pan American Games and the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

Associate Producer: Heather Connell

Connell started her career as a stage manager at the 2003 Western Canada Summer Games and later oversaw the ceremonies, medal presentations and protocol portfolios for the 2005 Canada Summer Games and 2007 Canada Winter Games. She previously worked with VANOC on the mascot launch.

Associate Producer: Anna Bond

Bond has managed and coordinated talent, performers and VIPs for a wide variety of large-scale, high profile events, including the British Columbia Canada Pavilion in Beijing in 2008 and opening and closing ceremonies at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse.

The Abilities Arts Festival, a Toronto, ON-based disability arts organization and forum for creative and artistic excellence, will act as the disability arts talent consultant for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Abilities Arts Festival serves as a leader, catalyst and resource to bring together artists, arts and cultural organizations and a diverse public by promoting an inclusive and vibrant arts and culture sector.

For more information on the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, please visit the official website at ww.vancouver2010.com.