Posted by: D.A.S. Chicago | May 2, 2011

Mermaids: Are They Real?

Mermaids: Are They Real

D.A.S. Chicago is all about giving readers alternative ways to use performance arts to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. The great thing about performance art is that there are so many activities that fit into the genre. Heard of dancing, singing, and acting right? When these basic performance arts activities meet water, what forms is a thing in the swim world called a Water show!

Water ballet, also known as synchronized swimming, is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers (either solos, duets, trios, or teams) performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music. Water ballet allows one so many benefits that helps to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. While combining some favorite things to do from dancing to exercise, water-ballet allows for increased water skills that build the upper respiratory system, providing physical longevity and endurance to acquire great strength, flexibility, grace, artistry, and precise timing!

In October 2010 while in Las Vegas, I got to see a water ballet routine like I’d never experienced before. Zummanity by Cirque du Soleil was an example of their mixture of circus and fantasy in water. A performance video, which I found on the Internet, is called ‘Two Lillies of the Pond,’ which features female acrobats in bedazzled bikinis doing weird body contortions and stunts, looking like water lillies.

Check it out

This water ballet routine was definitely meant to bring out the sensual side of viewers, with two female performers sliding in and all-around the glass bowl to soft music, displaying their acrobatic skills and muscle definition. They definitely accomplished their mission! Normally in family-oriented shows, performers are fully clothed but now in Vegas, they manage to make themselves look naked with their nude-colored string bikinis!

While, water ballet is used in theatrical productions like Circus du Soleil Zummanity, it’s not just limited to performance art; Water ballet sounds cool huh? But what is it really?  It started off and still is a sport today! Synchronized swimmers are not only artistic in nature but also pure athletes. They have great lung capacity from having to hold there breathe during practice and performances and water skills include: sculls (hand movements used to propel the body), which are the most essential part to synchronized swimming. Eggbeater kick, a common movement found in water polo- is a form of treading water that allows for stability and height above the water while leaving the hands free to perform strokes.

Check out this clip of the USA synchronized Olympic swim team! Notice the high lifts and throws of the flyer provided by the tremendous strength of team members’ skulls and eggbeater skills.

Water ballet is also used in other performance art productions that may take place at local aquariums, or park districts! As a child, I remember being on the Stanton Park swim team at just six years old performing in my first water ballet show! I remember it like yesterday we did a routine to the Lion King sound track, The Circle of Life! I was really excited to be doing two of my favorite things at the same time. Dancing and swimming to one of my favorite Disney classics, It was like a 3-dimensional play in water. Audience members, which were the participants’ friends and families, being so impressed with the production, said things like “I never knew they did stuff like this in water”.

Today there are all sorts of water ballet shows and classes going on all over the world.
Check out this video of swimmers in Korea doing a water ballet routine to Michael Jackson!

Water Ballet is an activity that allows relaxation and enjoyment whether you are watching a performance or doing it yourself! Tell us about your water ballet experience at www.das/wordpress.com

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