An Interview with Scarlett's Aquatic Acrobatic Team
As part of #Love_London month, we had a chat with our incredible world class synchronised swimming team, Aquabelles. Based in London, they are renowned internationally for their inspiring, aesthetic Olympic sport routines and have performed for celebrities including David Walliams, Lara Williams and Tracey Emin. We wanted to find out more about their unforgettable performances and where exactly the inspiration for their routines comes from…
1. How long have you been working together as a synchronised Swimming team?
Aquabelles was set up in 2004 by former international synchro swimmers, Adele Carlsen and Katie Fried. We both saw the potential of taking this Olympic sport and reinventing it as a style of entertainment for the events market which is always looking for something unique and that has the ‘wow’ factor. More and more events were being held around swimming pools and such a large area of space wasn’t being used. We have a close relationship with all the Aquabelle performers, as we have all known each other from a young age through the sport of synchronised swimming, and some of them have been performing with us from the start.
2. What kind of training do you have to do in order to become a professional synchronised swimmer?
Most of our synchronised swimmers are Olympians and former international competitive athletes in the sport, where they trained eight hours a day, six days a week so they all have excellent technique, outstanding skill and are physically fit. The training includes body conditioning, flexibility, basic gymnastics and dance, speed swimming, synchro skills and then there is all the work on the routines and getting everyone the same!
3. How often do you have to train individually / as a group?
When it comes to events, we offer bespoke and pre choreographed performances. We will choreograph or rehearse the routines off site, usually in a day or so depending on the length and type of performance, and then rehearse at the venue on the day. All the performers keep themselves physically fit and train both in and out the pool when we are not together.
4. What inspires your swimming routines?
Firstly, either us or our client will offer a theme or a piece of music to suit that event. Then we will research into that particular subject, music track, theme etc. We will then choreograph and create the routine. Quite often we will find new moves by playing around with ideas in the pool. Often we see gymnasts or dancers performing and we try out those moves in water. Diversity are always a great inspiration for their formation changes, fantastic arm movements and acrobatic lifts that we can transfer into the water.
5. How long does it take you to learn a new routine?
The best performers can learn a routine in one day. Its always best to let it sink in overnight though.
6. What kind of events are you asked to perform at?
All sorts from corporate events to weddings, private parties to brand launches all over the world. We provided the aquatic entertainment for David Walliam’s wedding, we performed in high heels for a shoe launch, with phones for a Sony Xperia event recently and became mystical mermaids for a resort launch in Cape Verde. We were incredibly fortunate to feature alongside Hugh Jackman and Billy Joel to entertain at a private birthday party at Blenheim Palace in a specially constructed pool with a mirror above it to capture all our formations. We also have girls performing an underwater show daily at a water park in the UAE. Anywhere where there is water, then we can perform. This includes small shallow pools, large olympic sized pools, fountains, aquariums, and open water. We even have a portable tank that we used when we competed in the finals of Britain’s Got Talent with our underwater act. This tank can be transported and set up in many venues.
7. How do you learn to synchronise your movements as a group?
There are several ways. We do what’s known as land drill, so we go through the routine on land with counts. Then in the pool, we either tap using a spoon or use a metronome to get everyone really synched and break down movements. We have an underwater speaker that the performers can hear the music underwater, which is really clear so that’s how they stay synchronised when it comes to the routine. If it stops for any reason, then a swimmer will squeak underwater to keep everyone in time. A bit like a dolphins squeak!