Ahab seeks prize in Patterson pool

Written by on July 31, 2013 in Featured - No comments

Esther Williams (played by Nancy Murray) makes an appearance to keep the peace between the sailors in Fluid Movement's "Moby Dick." The show, which will be performed this weekend at the Patterson Park pool, premiered on Saturday, July 27, in front of a capacity crowd at Druid Hill Park. Photo by Philip Rink Jr., philiprinkphotography.com

With its ranks swollen to roughly 70 members, Baltimore’s most popular water-ballet troupe, Fluid Movement, has four shows slated for the Patterson Park Pool this weekend.

“Moby Dick, or the Water Ballet” is the concept of Ted Alsedek, a member of the troupe and an English teacher at Calvert Hall College High School.

Founding member Valerie Perez-Schere notes that all scripts and adaptations are created by Fluid Movement members.

“It’s not like there’s a clearinghouse where you can buy water-ballet scripts,” she says.

“Moby Dick, or the Water Ballet” has five scenes and a finale, all of which, according to Perez-Schere,  evolve in an organic collaboration between the producers, director and the swimmers in the pool.

“Each scene kind of owns its own part of the show,” she says.

“Moby Dick, or the Water Ballet” is based on Herman Melville’s classic novel of whaling, adventure and obsession. Perez-Schere notes that the troupe has stayed faithful to the original material.

“We read the whole darn thing,” she says. “We do service to the book. It’s comedy, but it’s not pure mockery; there’s also adoration.”

She is exceptionally proud of the troupe’s effort this time, in its 12th annual show.

“We plant the seed and then it kind of grows,” she says, explaining the process of creating a water ballet. “What we get is what we get. This time, we got a truly fantastic show, not just cutesy or relying on our ‘yuk-yuk’ value.”

Fluid Movement is offering four showings of the musical at Patterson Park Pool this weekend. On both Saturday, Aug. 3, and Sunday, Aug. 4, the show will start at 5 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, $5 for city pool pass holders, and are available at the door and at brownpapertickets.com.

Perez-Schere says that every performance includes the same line:

“We are Fluid Movement, and so are you.”

The water-ballet troop is truly a community operation, she emphasizes, noting that a new member this year is doing water-ballet for the first time in her 70s.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” says Perez-Schere. “We’ll even loan you a flotation device if you can’t swim.”

by Erik Zygmont

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