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  • The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time on August 8, 2008, as the number 8 is considered to be auspicious. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture. The artistic part of the ceremony comprised two parts titled "Brilliant Civilization" and "Glorious Era" respectively. The first part highlighted the Chinese civilization and the second part exhibited modern China and its dream of harmony between the people of the world. The stadium was full to its 91,000 capacity according to organizers. The ceremony was directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who was the chief director and was assisted by Chinese choreographers Zhang Jigang and Chen Weiya. The director of music for the ceremony was composer Chen Qigang. It was noted for its focus on ancient Chinese culture, and for its creativity, as well as being the first to use weather modification technology to prevent rainfall. The final ascent to the torch featured Olympic gymnast Li Ning, who appeared to run through air around the membrane of the stadium.

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