Sirena, Mermaid’s Story with Egyptian Taste

By: Nour El-Houda Fouad and Maydaa Abo El-Nadar

CAIRO, Jan. 7 (SEE)- Many are the artistic works based on the Mermaid’s story with all its details where the female fish changes to a woman with two feet and leaves its tail because she loved a man.

The story suits all ages and gives chances for imagination to get off, thus shows were directed in different ways such as: the American movie “Aquamarine”, American film “The Little Mermaid”, Walt Disney’s animated TV series “Little Mermaid, and Walt Disney’s animated film “The Little Mermaid”.

This why director Sally Ahmed, along with the Egyptian Modern Dance Theatre Company, managed to add new elements with an Egyptian taste to the Little Mermaid’s story, at their show titled “Sirena” . Dancing and music characterized the show, where many times nature’s power and desire to live won against consumed romance. The event was held at the Gomhoria Theatre on the third and fourth of January.

Curtains were raised down; decoration and lights that depict live under the sea appeared. Upward was a fixed boat; and mermaids were dancing with their king. Jellyfishes then danced. Every movement was lightened expressing how jellyfishes lightened the seas. Suddenly a sailor fell from a boat (using a lifting device). Thanks to a mermaid he was lifted back.

Another decoration was replaced that showed a shore, where the mermaid held a handsome sailor, after she had saved his life. Then he was surrounded by his friends, and she returned back to the sea, from where she was observing the situation.

What made spectators understood the story’s location was the scene, in which performers, wearing traditional Alexandrian customs, danced on the rhythms of Fayrouz’s song dedicated for Alexandria.

Back to the sea, the king totally refused the Mermaid’s request to change to a woman. The mermaid escaped, and resorted to the shore with her new feet after her tail and fins had disappeared.
At the shore, while she was trying hard to stand up, two women from place noticed her. They were helping her till she managed to move easily like them. In their company, she met the sailor and their love story started. Ending her love story, one of her friends tried to commit suicide by throwing herself in the sea.

Worth noting is that the scene depicted the fight, between her friend’s fiancée and her friend, in a very expressive way and without music.

The Mermaid jumped to rescue her friend. Afterwards she was gradually being converted back to a fish, feet were removed and the tail appeared again. Throughout her conversion, her lover and the surrounding people were thinking she was dying. Her body disappeared in the sea and all thought she was dead.

What is special about the performance is that dancing and body movements expressed the characters’ emotions, without them pronouncing any word. This was seen clearly in the following scenes: the first that expressed life under the sea; the one were Mermaid was trying to walk for the first time; the one where her friend’s lover and her friend were fighting; where the sailor was suffering fearing to lose Mermaid, and after her loss.

The dancers’ body expression succeeded in transmitting the story, till the extent that spectators needed not to read about the story or to be handed a brochure, in order to understand the show and its sequence.

The performance was directed by Sally, professor at the Ballet Institute. Music was composed by Tarek Mahran¸ professor at the Conservatoire Institute. Decoration and lightening were set by Omar Abd Allah. Rasha Al Wakil played the role of Mermaid, while Sherly Adel was her friend who tried to commit suicide. The sailor was interpreted by Baher Amgad.

The Egyptian Modern Dance Company is the first band in the Arab world based on dancing to perform a complete drama work. The band also utilizes all modern methods including music and visual effects. It was established in 1993 and presented almost 26 artistic works at international festivals. Lately, at the National Theatre Festival, the band won the best performance’s award for their show based on the story “The Blue Elephant”.

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