The World Police and Fire Games (WPFG), the third largest international multi-sport event in the world, was officially opened on 1st August at a spectacular ceremony at the King’s Hall, Belfast. Organisers estimated around 7,000 competitors are taking part from 67 countries. Running until 10th August it will be the largest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland.
Belfast aims to deliver the friendliest and most successful Games ever, both on and off the field of play. The event represents an amazing opportunity to raise the profile of Northern Ireland internationally and leave a lasting legacy.
DU Dance Artistic Director, Mags Byrne, was engaged to deliver the opening ceremony with the theme of “Dare to Dream”. Drumming, ribbon poise and dance groups led out the participating country flags and athletes who all interacted with the spectators . This was followed by “Exodus” – a performance piece about traveling and looking out -a lively carnival parade featuring floats representing travel by land, air and sea which created a visual feast with a giant whale, a bath tub on stilts and a multitude of volunteers all in big bright, fun costumes. BMX’ers, skaters and free runners excited the crowd with their daring skills bringing an element of street culture to the ceremony.
The second performance element of the ceremony, “Melting Pot”, was a fusion of music and dance cultures from around the world. Japanese Taiko Drums blended with Fan Dancers and Chinese Dragons, Irish and Scottish Dancers performed to the beats of Indian Dhol Drummers, contemporary dancers, aerialists, cheer leaders and breakers worked alongside the pulsating beats of samba drums. The overall ceremony displayed Northern Ireland as a truly modern and inclusive society.