Dress, 'Hero Girl' prototype costume, worn by Nikki Webster, Opening Ceremony Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Australia, 2000
This costume is a prototype of the Hero Girl dress used in the Deep Sea Dreaming segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. This prototype is in nylon lycra; the actual costume was produced in the same print on a different fabric, a cotton lycra.
The final costume, for which this item is a prototype, featured in the Deep Sea Dreaming segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and was worn by Nikki Webster.
The costume was designed by Dan Potra; this prototype was manufactured by the Ceremonies Costume Workshop in Redfern, NSW.
The Deep Sea Dreaming segment presented a theatrical representation of Australia's affinity with the sea and it's rich and exotic creatures. Quoting from the Post-Games Report:
After the horses left the arena, the first narrative sequence, Deep Sea Dreaming, began. A small Hero Girl - Nikki Webster, a 13-year-old of astonishing talent and versatility - skipped into the arena in a pink sunsuit, carrying a beach towel. She applied sun cream to her nose, stretched, lay down and began to dream. Her dreams afforded the director of this segment, Meryl Tankard, the opportunity to transform the stadium into a deep, brilliant ocean - the kind of ocean that surrounds the island continent. To this end, 11 cables were used, strung 45 m above the arena across the 111 m space between the grandstands on either side.
As the Hero Girl soared high above the arena in a special lift harness, swimming and floating and somersaulting through the ocean, she was surrounded by exotic creatures of the deep. Giant translucent jellyfish drifted past her, through her dream, and then various coral cods, angel fish, sea-dragons, stingrays, sea cucumbers, anemones, banana eels, even a fearsome barracuda. Of the 800 people involved in this segment, 150 were schoolchildren taking the part of a giant school of fish. At one stage, as the Hero Girl drifted through the ocean, the face of Australia's famously vocal swimming coach, Laurie Lawrence, appeared on giant screens around the arena, urging kids to swim faster.
The Hero Girl could not swim faster. She was sucked slowly downwards among a swirling mass of fish. White ochre spirits entered the whirlpool and took charge of her, carrying her to a stage where a silhouetted figure was waiting. This was Djakapurra Munyarryun, the Songman and great tribal dancer, who would guide her during the rest of the program through an exploration of Australia's past. (Source: Post- Games Report, http://www.gamesinfo.com.au/postgames).
This dress was made by the Ceremonies Costume Department of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games by Dan Potra.
Dan Potra was born in Romania where he studied film, television and theatre design at the Art Institute Nicolae Grigorescu, graduating in 1987. He designed overseas for the Romanian National Theatre as well as working as a production, graphic and interior designer for film and theatre in Romania and Vienna. Potra graduated from the Design course at NIDA in 1991 and currently (2002) designs for theatre, opera, film and television. His design work also includes; Carmen, The Threepenny Opera (West Australian Opera); Christina's World, Quito (Sydney Metropolitan Opera); The Burrow, Wide Sargasso Sea (Chamber Made Opera); Rigoletto, Barber of Seville (Wellington City Opera); Lenz, Orlando (OzOpera/Melbourne Festival); The Medium, Trouble in Tahiti, Tolemeo (Muziektheater, Belgium); Salome (Mariinsky Opera in St Petersburg and 2001 Melbourne International Festival of Arts); Carmina Burana (State Opera of South Australia and Australian Ballet) and A Streetcar Named Desire (St Gallen Theater und Opera).
The costume, for which this item is a prototype, featured in the Deep Sea Dreaming segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and was worn by Nikki Webster.
It was presented to the Powerhouse Museum by the Olympic Coordination Authority, on behalf of the NSW Government.