Youngstown’s Lindsay Benton Choreographs World Games Ceremonies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Lindsay Renea Benton of Youngstown, a professional dancer and educator, was part of the choreography team for The World Games, which opened July 7.

Benton choreographed a segment of the opening ceremony, which was July 7, and the closing ceremony, which will be July 17.

The World Games is an international competition that takes place every four years and attracts the best athletes from all nations. This year’s event, which is being televised on CBS, is in Birmingham, Alabama.

Benton was tapped for the position by Henry Panion, the lead musical conductor for the ceremonies. Benton was responsible for the segment that included the performance of the Games’ theme song, “Hope of Alabama,” which was written by Panion. The song was performed by several stars, including Sheila E., Nelly, Tony! Toni! Toné!, and Yolanda Adams, with dancers from Alabama State University.

Benton is no stranger to top-level productions; she handled choreography for a scene from the 2021 film “Coming 2 America,” starring Eddie Murphy.

But the World Games was a first for her in several ways.

“It was my first time on a world stage as well as with a crowd of that size,” Benton said, noting it was also the first time she choreographed an athletic games ceremony that was broadcast nationwide.
The wide exposure of the ceremony added complexity to her task.

“You have to take into account the in-person audience and the production on the screen,” Benton said. “I had to put them both together and coach the dancers in a way that allows them to execute for both audiences.”

She worked with the dancers for months, but only got to rehearse with the singers and the camera operators a day or so before the event.

The entire opening ceremony can be seen HERE:

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