Water Ballet - A Recollection

Water Ballet - A Recollection

Have you ever wondered why we have Water Ballet at Loreto Kirribilli? Jacinta McCann ('76) recollects...

From reading almost any edition of Loreto Kirribilli’s Spirit, it becomes evident that Water Ballet is of central importance to the school’s annual sport program, and is synonymous with team spirit, mentoring and enjoyment.

I wish I could cast light on the precise moment someone said, "We should have Water Ballet!" But regardless, in 1974, a Water Ballet Cup came into being and we were off! I was the Vice Sports Captain of Barry that year, under the fearless leadership of Liz Whelan ('74) as House Captain, and Carolyn Rattigan ('75) as Sports Captain.

In our inaugural performance of the Barry mermaids there were lilos, and lots of laughs, but nothing close to matching what happens today.

By the time I was House Captain two years later, we attempted a more serious approach. After all, there was a cup to be won! I think I had watched too many Esther Williams' movies while babysitting, had the old VAETS tennis stroke production to music as inspiration, and found an LP (a record) of Hawaiian music in my mother’s Reader’s Digest collection. We selected a track and rehearsed in and out of the pool.

I cannot recall if we played a tape or the record into the microphone so it could be broadcast over the loudspeaker at North Sydney Olympic Pool on the big day, but I do recall that our amazing team members got through their moves more or less to the music and did not drown! And if memory serves me correctly, the Barry mermaids took out the cup in 1976.

We definitely harboured more modest ambitions back then, and had no idea that this would become a lasting tradition for the school. Bravo to the girls making such incredible moves these days!


"In organising the choreography with the girls, we thought we ought to begin with a flourish. The girls stood up on the blocks and dove into the water with yellow carnations in their mouths. It looked great at the start, but not so much after a couple of minutes of twirls and kicks and treading water!" - Emma Rossi (’84)

"Still one of my favourite memories at Loreto Kirribilli was our Water Ballet … I remember some dry land training on the grass outside the Kiosk and then realising the vision in the deep end of the pool. We were ambitious, and had the girls form a ‘W’ at the end of the ballet, and then on the crescendo of the soundtrack All By Myself by Eric Carmen - they released blue balloons! It was a miracle that they all survived, the little Year 7s barely treading water and remembering all their moves! I do believe we won that year!" - Sally Scanlen (’85), Ward Vice Captain 1985

"I was Milson House Captain in 1987. We stirred things up a bit by choosing a very nontraditional song, Grease Lightning - and we won! My mother Margaret Morrison, mother of Marie (’73) and Meg (’87) and P&F President 1973, was in the Australian Water Ballet team 1950-1954. Mum was frequently called upon in the 1970s and 1980s to be a guest judge." - Meg Morrison (’87) Milson House Captain 1987