By Jack Meyer  |  BSU at the Games

On the evening of July 27, Eileen Hsieh stood with 1,400 fellow dancers ready to storm the floor of Olympic Stadium on London’s east side.

“Once we heard that music going, we all were just pumping and yelling in the back,” Hsieh said. “We were underneath all the seats so no one could see us. Then all of a sudden we just ran onto the field, and cheering to the crowd, and the crowd was cheering us on too.”

Hsieh, a Taiwanese international journalist and Indiana University graduate, knew she wanted to participate in the Olympic Games since last year, when she left a reporting and producing job at CNN in London to pursue the opportunity.

“That was my goal. I wanted to participate in the Olympics, and there was no way I could do it fully unless I quit my job, so I did that,” Hsieh said. “I auditioned before Christmas for the Opening Ceremony to find out which position they were going to put me in.”

After two auditions, Hsieh was chosen as a volunteer performer during the portion of the Opening Ceremony showcasing English music and honoring Britain’s Tim Berners, who created the World Wide Web.

Hsieh began practice with her group in April, spending time receiving instruction from professional dance coaches, as well as Danny Boyle, the English filmmaker who directed the ceremony.

But without previous dancing experience, Hsieh said she spent extra hours perfecting her performance outside organized rehearsal.

“I would just gather with some of my fellow dancers who felt the same way as me, who weren’t as confident, and we would just rehearse in our own time,” Hsieh said. “We would go into the studio and just practice in front of the mirror.”

Hsieh has worked as a freelance journalist for Reuters in London since leaving CNN, a position that allowed her to keep more flexible hours preparing for the ceremony.

As a dancer and reporter in London this summer, Hsieh has gotten the unique opportunity of seeing London’s Olympic Games from the inside and out.

“I wanted to participate and wanted to make sure I did everything I could to get my feet in there somehow,” Hsieh said. “It takes so much effort and so much good will to actually make it happen.”

Hsieh has spent portions of her life living in Taiwan, Morgan Town, W. Va., and London, but she says participating in the Opening Ceremony has made her feel at home in the city where she lives now.

“It means that I am integrated to the city already. I feel like I’m a true Londoner because it is really a London event, and I’m part of it,” Hsieh said. “If they asked us to do it again tomorrow, we all would.”

Jack Meyer is a senior news journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Jack and the BSU team at @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.