Japanese tradition and street dancing to merge in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony

Past meets present in rehearsal of 19 March ceremony at Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens

The Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be a fusion of traditional Japanese festivities and street dancing, organisers described following a rehearsal on Sunday (26 January).

A three-minute, sneak preview of the 19 March ceremony at Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens was held for the media at the Makuhari Messe convention centre in Chiba Prefecture.

The actual ceremony will be approximately 10 minutes long, consisting of three acts based on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept, "Hope Lights Our Way".

The show is being produced under the direction of Hiro, leader of mega J-Pop band Exile.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori also took his first look at what the ceremony will be like on Sunday and came away duly impressed.

"I had been told many things about it but I feel very good about it now that I've seen it" Mori said. "I know it has not been easy getting the children together in one place from all around Japan.

"Greece is a country that really values history, culture. My feeling is the people of Greece will love this - and Zeus, too". - Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori

Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony director pleased

144 children, ranging from elementary school to high school students, took part in the rehearsal, the fourth Tokyo 2020 has been able to organise. A total of 216 performers will feature in the actual ceremony.

The production team inspected Panathinaiko Stadium in October. The children were selected in November from 12 dance schools nationwide run by Hiro's management company LDH Japan.

Like Mori, Hiro too was pleased with the performance is shaping up.

"It was my first time watching them with the real costumes and I thought it was exciting. I'm looking forward to the actual show. I think we're headed in the direction we want to go in", said Hiro, director of the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony.

"The stadium where we will be performing live is much bigger than today's. Bearing that in mind, we needed to make sure everyone was in the position they need to be in so today was really important in that aspect."

The Olympic Flame will arrive to the Air Self-Defense Force Matsushima Base in Japan a day after the Handover Ceremony.

It will be displayed in the 2011 quake and tsunami-affected regions of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures before the Torch Relay starts on 26 March from the J-Village in Fukushima.

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