How This Digital Agency Developer Ended Up Dancing in the Olympics Opening Ceremony

Isabella Silveira works at Huge's Rio office

Most agency employees will be watching the opening ceremony for the Olympics today with keen interest and much anticipation as the games open in Rio. But Isabella Silveira, a front-end developer for the Rio de Janeiro office of Huge, will have a very different perspective—she'll be dancing in the ceremony at Maracanã Stadium.

Adweek caught up with Silveira, who's spent the past year focused on creative solutions in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3 at Huge, and she somehow found time in her incredibly busy schedule to answer a few questions. 

Adweek: When did you learn you'd be dancing at the Rio 2016 opening ceremony? What went into the selection process?

Isabella Silveira: It all started with an invitation from a cast recruiter for the ceremonies. I often roller-skate around Lagoa, mostly training slalom at the roller-skating rink at Parque dos Patins. And one day, this guy approached me to ask if I was interested in auditioning for the cast because they needed roller skaters for some of the segments. I was quickly chosen during the audition, but they then decided to cut the roller-skating segments. So, they asked if I'd like to audition again, this time for dancing! Once again, everything worked out and they selected me for the opening and closing ceremonies. For the dancing selection process, they basically teach you a certain choreography and ask you to replicate it so they have an idea of your dance skill level and how quickly you're able to learn the moves.

What was your reaction when you found out you'd been selected?

I was extremely happy and couldn't wait to start rehearsing! They actually told me back in March when no one was really thinking about the Olympics yet, but I shared my news with everyone I knew. My father was basically more excited about this than when I graduated from college. It was a pretty special moment.

What did your co-workers think?

Everybody has been really supportive and happy for me. One of the things I love most about working at Huge is how we all have "shared victories" whenever any one of us succeeds at something, and me being chosen as a dancer was no exception. Dona Miriam, our office housekeeper and mom during office hours, was particularly thrilled about it. I feel as though I'm representing the whole dev team—and Huge's Rio office—in a way that is very special.

What kind of preparation went into getting ready for the ceremony?

A lot of rehearsals. We actually had 20 rehearsals for each ceremony, each lasting a duration of five-plus hours. A lot of hard work was put into making these ceremonies a big show, not only by the cast but by the whole team of choreographers and producers. I'm having a blast working with these guys, and it's been worth every second.

How long have you been dancing?

I used to dance ballet and jazz until I was 16, but then my schedule started to get really complicated. And so I haven't danced since those days. Fortunately, I was able to pick it back up again, despite not practicing over the years.

Will any of your co-workers be at the ceremony?

Our managing director, Eduardo Torres, will actually be at the opening ceremony. Everyone else has promised that they'll be watching it on TV, so I'll make sure I wave to them in case they catch me on tape!

What are you most looking forward to about the games/performing in the opening ceremony?

Honestly, I'm most excited about being a part of a very important moment for Brazil and being able to help make it something that all Brazilians can be proud of. Getting to know people from all over the world during the process is also something that I'll cherish forever.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.