History of “Teatr na Vode”

The history of the “Teatr na Vode” (“Theater on the Water”) began in 1980, when the new Moscow Circus on Lenin Hills decided to release its first water show, timed to the Olympic Games in Moscow, and invited the country’s strongest team in synchronized swimming — “Burevestnik”.

Participation of the sports team leading in the national standings in a circus show was the first and unique experience in the history of circus water performances, unparalleled in the world. However, after two-week participation in the programme “Stars of the Olympic Arena,” the athletes had to “return to sports” in order to prepare for the calendar competitions. It was necessary to create in a very short time a group that could replace “Burevestnik” team during the entire annual season of programme demonstration. The task seemed unmanageable, especially considering that in Russia at that time there were drastically few synchronized swimmers even at the moderate skill level: the national synchronized swimming was only making its first steps, and the Soviet Union had only several teams. Despite all the difficulties, Vladimir Maximov was able to assemble a new group and in the shortest time prepare it for annual participation in the programme of the leading circus of the country.

That was how the complex and sudden situation was inadvertently conducive to creation of a new team focused on production of various water performances both within and without the circus.

After successful participation in the programme “Stars of the Olympic Arena,” the collaboration of the team led by the Maximovs with the circus on Lenin Hills went on in the performances “Salut, Festival!” in 1985/86 (the programme dedicated to XXI World Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow) and “I call on!…” in 1989/90 (the programme dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Soviet circus). Each of these programmes was demonstrated throughout the year. The acts “Stalactites” and “Bolero” staged by Maria and Vladimir Maximovs for the programme of the year 1989 were included in the TV movie “Circus on the Water.”

Besides taking part in circus shows, “Teatr na Vode” has repeatedly performed its water acts on various city and all-USSR events. Among the brightest performance of the team are water-sports festivals on the day of the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomoletz” in Luzhniki (Moscow, 1990-1991) and on Navy Day in Sevastopol harbor (Sevastopol, 1991), “Christmas Trees” on the water in “Daugava pool” of Riga (Riga, Latvia, 1991-1995), ceremonial performances for opening and closing the synchronized swimming competitions as part of the First World Youth Games (Moscow, 1998) and the Youth Games of the CIS and Baltic countries and regions of Russia (Moscow, 2002).

The ever-expanding repertoire and the search for new means of artistic expression has led the theatre to the creation of large themed performances. Thus was born the “Swan Lake” on the water.
The long history of “Swan Lake” performances by “Teatr na Vode” began in 1995 with the presentation of the first water-circus version of the play in the Olympic pool of the French city La Rochelle. The low-budget performance on the water had, in spite of the “technical poverty”, a great success with the audience. It is equally important that “Swan Lake” aquatic production experiment implemented for the first time in the world has shown the rich possibilities of fusion of synchronized swimming, dance and circus to create an exciting and highly artistic story show.

The subsequent history of “Swan Lake” in the repertoire of “Teatr na Vode” is a constant creative search for possible interpretation options for the great work of musical art by P. I. Tchaikovsky.

— 2003–2012 — a 15-minute version of the play in the programme of “Teatr na Vode” performances in the Crocus City Mall;

— 2006 — water performance as part of the project “SynchroCircuStar” in St-Cyprien (France) with the participation of the French synchronized swimming athlete, 3-time World champion Virginie Dedieu, circus artistes from France and Russia, and flamenco dancer from Brazil;

— 2008 г. — a large water performance in the pool of sports facility “Olympic” in the framework of the 90th RSUPESY&T (Russian State University Physical Education, Sport & Tourism) anniversary, with the participation of children sports schools of synchronized swimming and diving, and artistes of Nikulin Circus;

— 2009 — aquatic choreography production for the play on the water “Swan Lake” in Beijing (China).
One can say for sure that aquatic performances based on “Swan Lake” carried out by “Teatr na Vode” during 17 years (from the emergence of the first performance) are the calling card of the theatre.

Besides the play “Swan Lake” the theatre has also created the following themed productions:

— “The Love for Three Oranges” (shown in the pool of La Rochelle, France, in 1997)

— “Snow Maiden’s New Year Adventure” (shown in the pool of RSUPESY & T in Moscow in 1996)

— “A New Year Tale” (shown in the pool of RSUPESY&T in Moscow in 1998)

— “A Christmas Tale” (shown in the pool of RSUPESY&T in Moscow in 2004)

Despite the constant activity of the theater, until 2002 its performances had non-commercial nature. The theater, in the literal sense of the word, did everything by is own hands — from productions and act performances to music editing and scenography creating, while having neither sponsors, nor a constant rehearsal base.

November 2002 changed the history of the theater. Already well-known in professional circles, the group was invited to perform at the opening of the new unique commercial complex — boutiques park Crocus City Mall. In the beautiful classic architecture of this complex was inserted a miniature swimming pool, which the theater had to decorate with its performance. The site was not an easy one — the narrow pool was a real dime store, where the audience could be located several inches from the water, and each error was in full view. The theatre had one day to urgently remake the acts, adapting them to the unusual site. The stress and long hours of rehearsal on the eve were not in vain – the performance appreciated by the facility management was the beginning of a long collaboration. For 10 years on all weekends and holidays “Teatr na Vode” shows the facility visitors a variety of aquatic programmes. During the ten years of performances at the Crocus City Mall the theater repertoire has been enlarged with a significant number of acts set specifically for small-sized bodies of water.

Thus, since 2002 “Teatr na Vode” found its permanent water site, and visitors of the Crocus City Mall acquired a unique artistic spectacle.

Many of the frequent eyewitnesses of the theater performances have become its devoted admirers and brought their children to the artistic swimming class recently created at the pool of Krasnogorsk and headed by educatees of the theater.
The nearest “Teatr na Vode” project is the creation of the school of Maria Maximova, the task of which would be to prepare both high-level athletes and future water actresses.

It would be safe to say that the dream of “Teatr na Vode” creator Vladimir Maximov about establishing a water plastics school, providing training for a new generation of highly professional artistes for the theater, started to become true.