Sunday, February 8, 2009

From Esther to "O"

Esther Williams was my hero! As a child of the 40's and 50's I had a a passion for movies, mostly musicals. Since I also loved to swim, it was only natural that I wanted to learn water ballet.

When I was 12, my Mom found a class at the Kansas City YMCA. My teacher's name was Carol Flynn and if you are a resident of Leawood, KS for any length of time, you probably know about her...She taught at the old Leawood Country Club and Lake Quivira, also. We learned to do "stunts", my Mom sewed costumes and we gave shows in local pools and lakes.

Later, water ballet became synchronized swimming with more serious rules and regulations. Stunts became "figures" as in figure skating. It also got a lot harder! We learned the "egg-beater" kick from the water polo players and started moving up out of the water. That's when I started coaching and judging. We started at my neighborhood pool in Round Hill, then on to Johnson County Parks and Recreation where the competitive team "Terrafins" was formed.

In 1982 the world of TRAVEL came into my life and I drifted away from active participation in the sport which had finally entered the Olympics. This is when the sport got really serious. Oh, I loved the spoofs on Saturday Night Live...most synchro-swimmers don't take offense...they just laugh and know what great atheletes they really are.

Now retired competitve swimmers and divers can earn a living after competition...they head for Las Vegas and the big Cirque du Soleil type shows..."O" at the Bellagio Hotel and "La Reve" at the Wynn. "O" (anglicized from "eau"...French for water) has been on the strip for almost 11 years. "La Reve" (also French, it means the dream) opened in 2005. They are two of the top selling and most expensive shows in Las Vegas...and worth every penny.

See what "O" is all about...

Esther had the we have Las vEgas.

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