Stomping at the Games 'surreal, awesome'
More than 300 million viewers watched on television, and 80,000 watched live as Te Awamutu's Ian Vincent did his thing at the Olympic Games closing ceremony yesterday.
When it was all over, and with a celebratory drink in hand at a London casino, the 24-year-old described the moments on and off stage with the 40-strong street dance troop Stomp. Amazing, he said. Surreal. Awesome.
One of the "coolest" things was the post-performance path through the stadium back to their dressing rooms.
"We were walking past the crowds, and it was almost like doing a victory lap and the crowd were just going nuts - that was amazing. On my way to the dressing room I bumped into Mahe Drysdale so I shook his hand and I thought that was awesome, too."
Stomp took centre-stage early in the three-hour long mash-up of British culture, after boy band One Direction.
The Spice Girls, Queen, David Bowie, Jessie J, George Michael, The Who and Eric Idle leading the crowd in a rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life followed.
"I can't think of anything that will top this moment right now," Vincent said.
A fortuitous road took the Te Awamutu College graduate to the Olympic Games closing ceremony.
As a teenager, he was studying dance at Wellington Performing Arts Centre. Stomp came to town and, with a wink from the dance director, they agreed to see him.
Later, Stomp wanted him to audition in the usual spots, New York or London, but they made an exception and agreed to a private audition in Sydney.
Six months later Vincent cut school and flew to London to join the cast.
Now he's among the elite, and has performed at London's West End and travelled the world. Before the Olympics he had been drumming and dancing through Europe and he'll do the same from August 28 until the new year.
With so many people watching his performance yesterday there were some nerves. It was a bit scary, he said, but the overwhelming emotion was pride.
"I have lots of family and friends back home that were tuning in to watch. I always wear my All Blacks jersey - I couldn't wear it in the performance, but I love knowing I'm from a small town in the Waikato and I'm here at the Olympics."