Olympic flame ceremony to integrate culture, mythology

The March 19 ceremony to mark the handover of the Olympic flame in Athens will include a performance drawing on Japanese culture.
A rehearsal for the performance was held Sunday at Chiba's Makuhari Messe convention center east of Tokyo, where the media were given a sneak peek at a portion of the program.
The performance follows a story about how the flame, kindled from the rays of the sun, becomes the light of hope for the future. Inspired by Greek and Japanese mythology, the performance involves children energetically waving red and yellow flags.
The full performance, which will be about 10 minutes long, is under the direction of Hiroyuki "Hiro" Igarashi, the leader of popular group Exile. Labeled a "fusion of tradition and innovation," the performance involving around 140 schoolchildren combines a variety of dance forms from Japanese festivals, Shinto ritual and modern street dance.
"The kids have a lot of energy," Hiro said. "I'm really looking forward to the real thing."

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