Viewers who tuned into NBC’s telecast of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games got to see plenty of pomp and spectacle. But the time-delayed broadcast on Friday was missing a crucial segment -- a dance tribute created by British choreographer Akram Khan.
NBC edited out Khan’s sequence and replaced it with a segment featuring Ryan Seacrest interviewing swimmer Michael Phelps. Khan later said during a press conference that he was “disheartened and disappointed” by the decision.
“I was really shocked and horrified and would like to know on what grounds the American media can make that decision,” he said.
Khan, who is one of the most prominent modern-dance choreographers in the world, created a sequence that focused on themes of mortality. It was interpreted by some to have been a tribute to people who died in the London terrorist attacks of 2005, though the number was not officially billed as such.
Khan performed with 50 other dancers, plus a young boy, at the Olympic Stadium on Friday. The dance number was set to a song by Emile Sandé titled “Abide With Me.” He had been asked to create the piece by director Danny Boyle, who oversaw the opening ceremony.
NBC issued a statement over the weekend in which it said that editing decisions such as this are routinely made for pre-recorded entertainment.
Though American TV viewers weren’t able to see Khan’s number on Friday, online video featuring parts of the dance sequence is now available on YouTube.
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