ONLINE ONLY Know Sci-Fi & Fantasy - Mermaids Among Us
Explore mermaids past and present.
Mythic mermaids have preoccupied visual art and literature for millennia in many cultural contexts but when, in the 19th century, they took physical form in operas certain problems about their form and locomotion needed to be solved so they could be embodied. Stage designers settled on a special "look" which still preoccupies our conception of mermaids in the 21st century. Now, the burgeoning industry of "mermaiding" has countless amateur practitioners. Among professional mermaids, entrepreneurialism in the gig economy utilizes the recognizability of this form and has developed set of skills that goes along with the "look" to constitute enactment of the thoroughly modern mermaid.
Tracy C. Davis is Barber Professor of Performing Arts at Northwestern University and a specialist in theatre history and historiography.
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