07.07.2013  03:11

Summer Universiade opens in Kazan

The Flame of the 27th Summer Universiade was lit above the Kazan Arena Stadium and this can mean only one thing – the Summer Universiade 2013, after five years of preparations by Kazan, is now open. The ceremony opening the Games was indeed grand. The show held 45,000 people breathless at the Kazan Arena Stadium for several hours.


Opening Ceremony of Summer Universiade 2013 © RIA Novosti

Details of the Universiade Opening Ceremony were kept secret, as the organisers of the show wanted to impress everyone to the depths of their souls. The Artistic Director of the Games Ceremonies is Aleksey Sechenov, Member of the Russian Academy of Television and holder of the TEFI Award. The Chief Choreographer of the Ceremony is Zhanna Shmakova. She was also involved in choreographing the opening ceremonies of the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship in Baku and Asian Winter Games in Astana, and she acted as chief choreographer for the MUZ TV Music Awards, NIKA Awards, Silver Galosh Awards, Musical Heart of the Theatre Awards, and the Eurovision preliminaries. Ilsur Metshin, Mayor of Kazan, was appointed head of the interdepartmental working group in charge of the preparations for the Kazan 2013 SU Ceremonies. The Executive Director of the Games Ceremonies is Igor Sivov, Deputy Director General of the Kazan 2013 Executive Directorate.

The participants of the show were dance teams from Kazan. Long practice sessions helped them to turn a dream into life, and perform a show which has already become a part of history. This part of the performance was presented in 3D. All spectators was given personal 3D glasses. The show was performed on a unique stage, made in the form of a pyramid with a huge Cauldron on its top. The general weight of the metal construction of this stage is 470 tons.


Opening Ceremony of Summer Universiade 2013 © RIA Novosti

More than 400 people were involved in erecting this construction. Over 4,000 people, not taking into account the staff responsible for the infrastructure of the stadium, took part in the show. Over 5,000 people, over 30 large and 200 small set pieces, for the transportation of which the organisers needed 30 freight wagons, were involved in the preparations for the Opening Ceremony. Over 2,000 light fixtures were mounted in the stadium.

In addition to a huge team of organisers and entertainers, a large team of Kazan 2013 volunteers worked during the Opening Ceremony for the Summer Universiade 2013. It can be rightfully said that they were also the part of the show, though not as noticeable, but nevertheless, a very important part. A total of 1,739 Kazan 2013 volunteers took part in the Opening Ceremony in various functional areas.

Kazan 2013 volunteers helped the organisers of the show create a festive atmosphere for the audience right from the entrance to the Kazan Arena Stadium. The volunteers helped check tickets; on the outer perimetre of the stadium the guests were welcomed by Kazan 2013 volunteers, who were directing people to the needed sector of the huge stadium; and, within the stadium, volunteers met the incomers and helped them find their seats.

200 volunteer animators performed the most complicated task of all: they had to set the mood before the show, immerse everyone in an atmosphere of magic, and help connect 45,000 totally diverse people for 4 hours of the Universiade Opening Ceremony. In their bags they had a special 'toolkit', with the help of which they created a 'view from the inside'. This included tulip lamps, tinkling bells and other 'props' to create the 'full immersion effect'.


Opening Ceremony of Summer Universiade 2013 © RIA Novosti

To take part in the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Universiade 2013 and to be a part of the performance sounds probably like a dream. This dream came true for many young people today. The 'stage-hand' team played a special role and carried out an important task. Since June 15th, 128 people were making preparations, together with a company of actors. Today, they have demonstrated what a great job they did, and the results of their long rehearsals. The stage scenery was changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the striking stage constructions were moved on the stage surprisingly quickly and easily. The volunteers of the Victory Ceremonies team, the other participants of the show, were honoured to carry the flags of the 162 countries, taking part in the Games, while 350 attaché volunteers went along the honour lap, being included into the countries’ delegations that they are working with. A total of 307 volunteers, being involved into the organisation of the Athletes' Parade in the Ceremonies FA assisted in forming up the athletes in the right order before the parade, have the delegations go up on stage at the proper time and later help 13,500 athletes find their seats in a designated seating area.

One part of the show, which everyone will remember, was the parade of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation. The spectators saw a theatricalised mystery that included the striking images, revived myths and legends of the various nationalities, living on the territory of the modern Russia. The wealth of cultures, the variety of the folk traditions and arts were the basis of the show. Mankind, as a main mover of history and creator of the country’s rich heritage, played the leading role in the parade of indigenous peoples of Russia.


A few hours flew by like minutes; the entire history of Russia, the host country of 27th World University Games, passed in front of the eyes of the audience. The show's creators reminded people that the source of creativity and inspiration for every human being is wise tales. Bearing this in mind, they presented large scenes, showing the flowering of Russian art in the 19th century, the troubled times of the revolution, the war years, the first manned flight into space... This episode, touching upon the most significant moments in the history of Russia, was built like a waltz – a dance for all ages, able to reflect any life event. 

The common thread running throughout the entire ceremony was the idea that life is full of things that divide people – into friends and enemies, into us and them. Times have changed. The planet has become smaller, and the people – now are closer than ever before. The Internet is erasing boundaries and allowing people to come together. There are consequences to everything, and one should try to be, and make the world around oneself better, starting today, without waiting for when the future becomes the present.

The Universiade Flame will burn in the Cauldron of the Kazan Arena Stadium for two weeks – until July 17, when the Games in Kazan come to an end, marked by a grand Games Closing Ceremony.