Water Ballet/Synchronized Swimming/Aquatic Art: Thank you MGM! Who started it all. In the present, moves we see today are based from the dance numbers underwater in a tank. But the first performance in a glass tank was in New York at the Hippodrome in 1907. Another mermaid legend influenced synchronized swimming and added it to a school's physical education program for ladies back in 1915 at the University of Wisconsin. A Water Ballet Club was developed at the University of Chicago in 1923. And at the Worlds Fair in Chicago in 1934, The "Modern Mermaids" performed bringing National and International attention to it.
Falling under three categories. 1) Water Ballet: Is dance routines with specific music. Water Ballerina's are all in a fluid motion. There is no sudden stopping or starting in the water. 2) Synchronized Swimming: Strong demands on breath control, timing, stamina and coordination. 3) Aquatic Art: Choreography to graceful ballet movements. Mental concentration, along with learning how to carry yourself in and out of the water. Designed as a competitive sport or activity as well.
Like a professional athletic swimmer. Water ballerina's train on a daily base. Holding your breath for long periods takes a lot of strength. Making an audience seem that they don't need more air. By holding your palate at the top of the throat will allow the mouth to open with out choking. Not having enough air underwater is dangerous. It will deplete one's energy. Drills are important. Several dancers are in the water. A serious of isometric maneuvers high above the surface in order to maintain stability. Water temperature should be 85 to 90 degrees. A dancer can get light headed and nauseous. The lungs act as pontoons. Being underwater can effect one's eardrum. Causing the equilibrium to be unbalanced. And where dizziness occurs. 45 seconds is approximately the right amount of time to be underwater.
Spiritual Experience: At times even the experienced swimmer will get so relaxed underwater. They fall asleep. The body actually goes into a trance like state, reaching another dimension. Your senses are dulled. This is caused by an extreme amount of carbon dioxide in the body. Considered dangerous (Please donnot try this).
Synchronized Swimming/Water Ballet: You have to be so graceful and swim so that the audience can see you. Preparing each day equal to a ballerina. Up to 12 hours in the pool. Positioning the arms, thrusting backwards. Knees are bent, toes grabbing the edge of the pool. Learning a ballet routine out of the water first. Developing strength in the upper body and arms. As well as the muscles of the entire body. Increasing stamina, plus strong legs. Feeling safe in the water is natural to the Water Ballerina. It is easier to start as an infant.
Aqua artist has no fear. And is in control, knowing your surroundings, also exactly where you are and what you are doing at all times. Performing and getting a reaction from the crowd and hearing them applaud is a huge "natural high". There is specific makeup and hair gelatin used to look beautiful in the water. Way back MGM used Vaseline and baby oil to keep the hair in place. As well as giving the hair a special shine. A protective goose grease in used sometimes. Which they apply all over the body. Wearing a bathing suit is equal to a dancers natural skin.
Synchronized Swimming became recognized in the 1950's at the Pan American games in Mexico City and was named a demonstration sport at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Although it was gaining in popularity. It was still considered a little to fancy for the Olympics. 1984 was the year the Olympics first accepted it. Certain qualifications were required. Traveling to various countries was on the of them.
A water ballerina feels very much at home in the water. They actual are having a love affair with it. It is where they belong. Most people wouldn't understand this. That is what makes them a special sea angel. The blue water is a safe place. Quiet and peaceful. A dancers" Oasis"
Here are some water terms:
Backstroke and Crawl: Underwater, this movement is difficult. Keeping the elbows lifted will help. Also pointing the toes downward and the arms proceeding from side to side with each stroke.
Butterfly Breaststroke: Swimming laps. Stroke for stroke. Side by side. Breathing and pacing smoothly.
Conventional Breaststroke: Ones arms are under the water at all times. Arms out of the water in every stroke are harder but much more powerful. (Sorry ladies, this is considered the male stroke)
The New York Style a.k.a. East River Crawl: Hands flipping through the water in a stroke.
Porpoise Dive: Treading water with their legs and moving just their elbows to the beat of the music. Followed by diving under the water in unison.
The Scull: One stays in place.
The Spiral: Is one front stroke and then one backstroke.
The Tandem: Swimming one before the other.
The Tiller: Dancers line up. Each dive into the pool one after another with perfect timing, creating a ripple effect that resembles the tilling disks on a plow.