The Opening Ceremony was an incredible ensemble of sound, lights and dance which had to be seen to be believed…

Anticipation was high as athletes, officials, spectators and all other participants arrived at the venue to be greeted by a cheery marching band, giant mascots, beautiful ladies in traditional Russian costumes serving bread and snacks, as well as entertainment including singing and dancing, all before the night’s entertainment began!

As the audience took their seats, the night began with a beautiful ballet in white, and from that moment, the city of Saint Petersburg was introduced as a vibrant city of living culture.The night’s two MCs came onstage to announce the opening of the show, as a parade of drummer girls marched in to an energetic beat.

The country parade began, with several teams showing strong numbers – Australia, Belarus, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finalnd, France, Iraq, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in particular.

After the country parade, the night’s main VIPs came onstage, the representative of the City of Saint Petersburg, Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan, President of IFMA, the sponsor for the whole event, the CEO of Stroyservis, and the President of the Russian Muaythai Federation, Mr. Dmitry Putilin.

After the speeches were given, a children’s choir came onstage and led the audience in a moving rendition of Russian’s national anthem.

Opening the show, a bride in flowing white entered onstage playing the violin, surrounding by four dancers disguised as pillars, and soon joined by ballet dancers throwing and catching white balloons in a gentle dance.

Suddenly, the scene shifted to darkness, until it was filled with acrobats and dancers in neon clothing using glowing sticks and weapons, who enacted a Muaythai showdown, as acrobats hung suspended in the air….dancers dressed as lit stars let it be known that a new star was born, as the brilliant performers sparked the fire of Muaythai with their athletic prowess, finally following their Queen who lit the fire of Muaythai and led a final dance before exiting the stage in a glorious procession.

Next, Saint Petersburg’s rich and lovely arts were embodied in a traditional Russian dance, showing all the grace and skill which Russian traditional dancing is known for.

Following this lively and uplifting scene came one of the night’s highlights, a very young performer, cool and composed, who came on stage and captured the hearts of all as he played an extraodinarily beautiful classical song on the violin in an ocean of soothing light. The young boy was joined onstage by a quartet of dancers and an accompanying older violinst. She played in harmony with him, so delicately that the audience was left breathless in their seats. Finally, hand in hand, to thunderous applause, the two violinists left the stage, and the dancers took up their positions for a rousing tango which depicted a passionate tale of betrayed love.

The next performance was richly stylish, as dancers in elaborate, almost baroque, costumes flourishing enormous collar pieces, glided around the stage to the accompaniment of a magnificent voice – an operatic beginning which transformed into a song about love, as the dancers joined in as a chorus. As the lights dimmed, their incredbile collars lit up, and the opera singer’s headress became a shining crown.

The evening closed with a Saint Petersbrug rendition of rock – classical music played on the electrical guitar, before the closing song “We are the champions”, enlivened once again by a children’s chorus.

It was a night of great beauty, mystery and magic…a cool September’s evening in Saint Petersburg, lit by the fire of Muaythai.