FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (7/96)
SHREVEPORT, LA -- When the Olympics open Friday evening (7/19/96) in Atlanta, Ga., a Centenary College dance graduate will be performing in a leading role in the opening ceremonies.
She is Claudine Vaughan, who in 1993 became Centenary's first graduate with a major in dance. Among the many performers, Vaughan shouldn't be difficult to locate in the televised event that begins at 7 p.m. (CDT) on NBC.
Look for her as one of the five "Spirits" who will be lifted high in the air via a hydraulic platform. Each of the five dancers will perform in front of their own 70-foot-tall billowing fabric panel, each representing one of the five colors of the Olympic rings: purple, gold, black, green and red. She will be the dancer in front of the black panel.
"We offer the call to nations. We make three appearances," Ms. Vaughan said in a telephone interview from her home in Chamblee, Ga. "We open the ceremonies. In the middle, we call up the athletes, and we close the ceremony and signal the beginning of the games."
"Each one of the five Spirits, who will be dressed in gold, represent a color of the Olympic rings," Vaughan said. "We are the gods and goddesses. We offer the call to nations."
Vaughan participated in auditions on Nov. 5 and received notice of her selection in late January. Since then she has been practicing for the opening extravanganza, whose details have been closely guarded prior to the event.
Originally she was assigned a position on the field, but later was offered a spot as a Spirit. The offer was wonderful, she said, but required her to overcome a fear of heights. "Now it is fun. I can see the entire stadium." She expects that the Spirits will make their first appearance at about 7:45 p.m., following a pre-show lead-in program.
Vaughan works by day as a loan processor for an Atlanta mortgage company and by night as a freelance dancer and choreographer, and recently danced for a Rhythm and Blues video recording. She is a native of Detroit who completed high school in Nashville.
At Centenary, Vaughan was a student of Ginger Folmer, associate professor of dance.