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Fort Lauderdale's Wreck Bar unveils underwater burlesque show

There’s a new underwater show at the Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale. But it’s not a typical mermaid show. It’s underwater burlesque.

Performer Marina “MeduSirena” Anderson is the mind behind the show, which is inspired by Esther Williams' Hollywood movies of the 1940s and ’50s. "MeduSirena Late Night AquaBurlesque" starts at 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the bar inside the B Ocean Resort, and is for patrons age 21 and older.

Covered in rhinestones, Anderson and her performers can be seen swimming in a pool from windows behind the bar. Some of her costumes are inspired by classic Las Vegas burlesque shows, such as the long-running “Jubilee!”

“We’re trying to stick to some old-school burlesque principles,” she says. “I love the essence of old Vegas.”

Although she enjoys doing family-friendly performances wearing fishtails and shell-bikini tops, she always wanted to do a performance where she could use her legs to make more dynamic movements.

“There’s many facets to underwater performance besides wearing the fishtails,” says Anderson, who has been curating and performing with the 6:30 p.m. mermaid show at the bar for 11 years. “Figure swimming without the tails, there are no rules. You can come from any direction. You can do quite a bit.”

Anderson says the burlesque show also is her way of keeping the art of classic burlesque alive in one of the few porthole bars left.

“Underwater burlesque wasn’t so unusual at one time. These were the hooks that would get people to come into these bars,” she says. “Now, with these porthole bars almost extinct, some of us have to try to to keep it going for the sake of the art form and for the sake of the establishment. To keep it alive.”

Her swimming style mixes free-diving techniques and dance movements. The women don’t use nose clips or underwater hoses to breathe, and sporadically swim up for air.

“I had to evolve it from a certain point because there really weren’t that many people to draw upon to learn,” she says. “And I’ve been a free diver for a very long time, so I pretty much synthesize the free diving and my love for Esther Williams’ films.”

"MeduSirena Late Night AquaBurlesque" begins 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at the Wreck Bar in the B Ocean Resort, 1140 Seabreeze Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. Reservations are recommended. A $20 food or bar tab minimum is required per person. Call 866-755-1102 or go to bhotelsandresorts.com/b-ocean/wreck-bar.

bduarte@sunsentinel.com, @babicorb

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