Just a Splash

In Analyze This, Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) tells therapist Dr. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) about his inability to maintain an erection. They’re sitting at an empty bar, and behind the top-shelf liquor, “mermaids” with pouty lips and sensual underwater acrobatics seductively tease the two men. But behind that veil of underwater eroticism, there’s a glimpse into Florida history: the aquatic spectacle. “I call it aquatic performance or water ballet,” says Marina Anderson, a longtime practitioner of underwater theater and star of the Mermaid Show at Sheraton Fort Lauderdale’s Wreck Bar. “I’m sure some people can see eroticism in just about anything,” Anderson says, “but that certainly wasn’t my motivation. My mom exposed me to Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and Esther Williams’s movies. And the first time I came to Florida, I was blown away by all these dive shows.” Visible from the bar’s surrounding tank windows, Anderson is a strikingly beautiful underwater creature in a seashell bra, fin, flowing locks, and hypnotic undulations. She adds, “Sometimes parents will enthusiastically try to fool kids into thinking that I’m a real mermaid. I’ll tell them: ‘No, I’m not. I’m an aquatic performer.’ÿ” To experience a piece of old Florida, check out Anderson’s free show every Friday night at the Wreck Bar.
Fri., July 1, 6:30 p.m., 2011

 
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