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Take it from the top in the 'bird's nest'

August 2, 2008 | 10:38 am

Volunteers wait outside the Bird's Nest during a Saturday rehearsal of the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Beijing Games organizers staged a dress rehearsal on Saturday night for the Aug. 8 Opening Ceremony. Associated Press reports that more than 10,000 performers, along with high-tech wizardry, are to be showcased.

Fireworks illuminated the skyline during the run-through, giving Beijing residents and visitors a pyrotechnic preview of the 3-1/2-hour extravaganza.

The 90,000-seat "bird's nest" was filled with family members and friends of performers. Some journalists were invited on the condition that they not reveal anything about the ceremony.

Chinese director Zhang Yimou has worked on the project for three years, and had hoped to keep the contents a secret. But that plan fizzled after a South Korean television crew broadcast some footage of the show -- material that also made a brief appearance on YouTube and other websites.

"It was very beautiful and big," Wu Yu Pu, 23, told the Associated Press after Saturday's really big show. "It showed a lot of Chinese history."

A final dress rehearsal is scheduled for next week. The Opening Ceremony will be broadcast around the world.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: Olympic volunteers wait outside the National Stadium (bird's nest) during a Saturday rehearsal for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in Beijing later this month. Credit: Joe Klamar  AFP/Getty Images

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