A Dream under Water

Among the many dance events scheduled for this ‘Big’ summer 2012, one that should not be missed is Like A Fish Out of Water. The new, site specific concept developed by seven sisters group, presented by English National Ballet and Zap Art, is sweet, funny and witty all at once.
As part of ‘SECRETS: Hidden London’, presented by the Mayor of London and London 2012, the piece leads you out of the usual itinerary to an unexplored part of the city at Uxbridge Lido and Richmond’s Hampton Pool. In our current world of ‘time is money’, this long displacement away from the central London buzz charges me with expectations, which nevertheless are totally met by the production.

In a London adaptation of Andersen’s Mermaid the fairytale takes a postmodern twist and is reset around the edges of the London city pools. At the Lido in Uxbridge, the public enter from a side door and are immediately transported to a mysterious realm of sea creatures and humans; where swimming happens on dry land and the dancing under water.

Memories, videos and live dancing alternate and create a sense of wonder for the public. The visual element is accompanied by words narrating the fabulous adventures of a mermaid constantly longing for the water. What differs from the original is, this is not a love story; it is the story of a life.

Extremely touching and personal the event is conceived for small groups, enhancing the intimacy of the performance. The public, entrapped with all the senses in the narrative, is given the rare opportunity to simultaneously laugh, cry and think. My wish is that seven sisters group and English National Ballet would produce more of these wonderful, surreal fairytale performances; to remind us of our ability to dream.

It is a real pearl in the sea of choices for this summer.

Katja Vaghi