DANCER Rachel Layton is gearing up for the performance of a lifetime as she rehearses her steps for the London 2012 closing ceremony show.
The 21-year-old, of Newcomen Road, Stamshaw, was selected to take part in the Olympic show after a round of auditions in the capital in October
Rachel, who works as a classroom assistant at St Jude’s Primary School, Old Portsmouth, made her debut performance in dance when she was just five years old at the Portsmouth Carnival.
And now she will be dancing in front of the world when she takes to the stage on August 12 as part of the ceremony.
‘I was speechless when I found out I was going to be in the show,’ Rachel said. ‘I couldn’t talk for hours.
‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ll probably be about 100 years old the next time the Olympics are in England so it felt amazing to be selected.
‘It didn’t really hit me until we started rehearsing but now I can’t wait, I’m so excited.’
Rachel has been sworn to secrecy about the details of the show, and cannot even reveal the type of dance she will perform or whether she is wearing a costume.
However organisers have revealed that a dance featuring 300 performers based on London’s rush hour will be performed, including lollipop ladies wearing Union Jack swimsuits, and there will be a re-enaction of the Notting Hill Carnival.
For Rachel, it’s a dream come true to be taking part in such an important event.
She is a member of many groups in the area, including Willets Academy of Performing Arts, Streetforce, and South Downe Musical Society.
And she dances with ZooNation Academy of Dance, in north London.
Rachel also teaches the art at Victory-Land Theatre School, in Portsmouth, and I Can Street Dance at St Jude’s Primary School.
She said: ‘It feels amazing when I’m on stage performing – I get a proper buzz from it.
‘It’s the only chance I get to really be myself and just let go. I just zone out and let my body take over, there’s no better feeling.
‘And to be able to do that at a show as big as this will just be incredible.’