According to the legends in the Ukraine, the Rusalky, Rusalka or mermaid was a young, attractive water nymph who adorned her long green or blonde hair with wreaths made of marsh. Perhaps, the most prominent features of a Rusalky was their almost translucent skin and their eyes that were a green fire. They also have the ability to transform into animals, whenever it pleases them.
The Rusalky were the souls of drowned girls and unbaptized children, who reside in underwater crystal palaces for majority of the year, until springtime.They would however, emerge from the water on Rusalka Easter (six or seven weeks after Christian Easter), where they would come to land to dance and play.
In early June, during Rusalka Week, is when the Rusalky is said to be at their most dangerous. It is said, that during this time of year, people avoid swimming, in fear of being pulled underwater by the water nymphs.
When a Rusalky, is on land, they appear to be beautiful, lighthearted young girls, but they aren’t. They are dangerous creatures, especially towards humans. It is said, that a Rusalky had the power to enthrall a man with her voice, and would then proceed to drown or tickle him to death. She could also kill a man with her sensual laugh.
If a man wanted to protect himself from the Rusalky, he would wear an amulet made of wormwood or lovage, or carry pieces of lucky cloth.
The Rusalky are in many ways, the classic mermaid. They’re beautiful, yet dangerous creatures.
Howard was released on Disney+ on August 7th, 2020. For any fan of Disney, this film is a must watch.
The film opens, in the recording studio of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with Howard Ashman and the cast recording the soundtrack. His passion for music, storytelling, and directing are evident in the footage.
From there, Sarah Ashman Gillespie (Howard’s sister) candidly talks about how some of her most fond memories of Howard, were of the world’s he created.
The film portrays Howard as a true creative at heart, who understood his purpose in life was storytelling through music. Like most creative personalities, Howard was both confident and self-conscious, seeing his vision crystal clear, yet struggling to make it happen. He was stubborn, yet passionate and in many cases, it’s that combination that innovators and visionaries are made of.
Howard founded the off-broadway company WPA, which years later, which impressed Jeffrey Katzenburg, who years later, would beg Howard to work with him at the Walt Disney Studios. Howard eventually said yes and brought his friend and fellow composer Alan Menken on board for a little project called The Little Mermaid.
Alan Menken, Jodi Benson, Glen Keane, Ron Clements, John Musker, Roy Disney, and Jeffrey Katzenburg in the documentary talk about their experiences working with Howard on The Little Mermaid. Howard at the time of film’s production had learned that he had AIDS, yet continued to work in spite of that. He had worked on two other Walt Disney Studio films prior to his death in 1991 that included Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
For any fan of Disney or of The Little Mermaid, Howard is a must-watch. It explores the life, struggles, career, and untimely death of a man who changed the Walt Disney Studios and musical theatre forever.
Thank you Howard for giving a mermaid her voice and a Beast his soul. We you and will remember you for your contribution to musical theatre and Disney.
Did you know that Disney’s 2016 film Moana is based on a Polynesian legend?
Moana-Nui-Ka-Lehua was a Polynesian water goddess/mermaid, who resided in the ocean between the two islands Hawaiian islands of K’aui and O’ahu. It was Moana’s duty to guard the Ka’ie’ie Channel with the help of two two shark gods named Kuna and Kahole-a-Kane.
According to some legends, Moana appeared as a fish, while in others she was as a half-human half-fish hybrid (mermaid). Moana had the power to summon storms whenever she wanted.
Moana according to legend, wasn’t always the well-mannered goddess as depicted in Disney’s film version of Moana. Like many other deity’s and goddesses, Moana was mischievous and playful.
Moana prevented the volcano/fire goddess Pele from being with her human Lohiau by brewing a storm, so that the couple couldn’t go beyond the reef to be married.
However, there was one god, who could match Moana and that was Maui. Moana met the fisherman god, Maui (the island of Maui is named after him), when she found him fishing in her waters. She snatched his fishhook from the rock it was sitting on.
Maui, was known for being a trickster god and wasn’t going to take Mauna stealing his fishhook lightly. So, he pursued Moana, until he was able to capture her. Maui, then brought Moana to shore, where she passed away. Maui, paid his respects to the mermaid goddess by burying her body and built a shrine in her honor. Moana’s spirit was metamorphosed into a oli’a lehua, which is one of Hawaii’s most sacred trees.
The songs in The Little Mermaid were written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and forever changed the Walt Disney Company and it’s contribution to music.
Alan Menken revolutionized Disney and the Disney musical by using the musical theater format in storytelling. They did this, by using storytelling techniques, typically used in musical theater and giving them a Disney twist.
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman as a team, wrote and composed all the songs for The Little Mermaid, staying true to their musical theater roots. Ariel’s iconic song of Part of Your World. Howard Ashman famously referred to this song as the “want song” and it is.
During Part of Your World, we learn about Ariel’s hopes and dreams of exploring land and asking humans questions about the human world.
Growing up in the 90s, the music in The Little Mermaid was a pivotal point in our childhood. Singing along to the soundtrack on cassette and watching the movie on VHS.
As children, we lived and breathed the soundtrack, knowing every song word for word from memory. We didn’t just listen to the music, we absorbed it and lived it every time we sang the memorable lyrics.
The music of The Little Mermaid has a voice that is completely it’s own and there is nothing like it.
And we can all thank Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for that! Thank you Alan, for making us Part of Your world!
On July 16th, 2020 the Walt Disney Studios had announced that it would debut an original documentary on the life and music of Disney Legend, Howard Ashman titled Howard.
Howard is scheduled to be streamed on Disney+ on August 7th, 2020.
Howard Ashman’s influence on Disney is evident, even today. He used the storytelling formula, normally used in musical theater and Disneyfied it.
If it wasn’t for Howard Ashman, Ariel wouldn’t have her iconic “want song” of Part of Your World.
He was even referred as “Another Walt” by Roy E. Disney for his passion of music, drive for perfection, and love of storytelling.
The announcement of this documentary is very exciting for any Disney fan or fan of The Little Mermaid knowing that Howard’s contributions to The Walt Disney Studios goes beyond the storyboard and piano.
This documentary will give fans a chance to learn more about a man whose become nothing short of a Legend. Howard Ashman.
Tragedy struck Copenhagen on July 3rd, when the bronze statue of The Little Mermaid on the Langelinie Pier vandalized with the words ‘Racist Fish’. The words ‘Racist Fish’ were graffitied on the large rock, that the mermaid sits on.
Copenhagen authorities have no inclination of who could’ve graffitied the famed sculpture and have launched an investigation to find the culprits.
The Copenhagen police made the statement, “We consider it vandalism and have started an investigation.”
It is speculated, that Disney’s controversial casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid is whatcould’ve what prompted the act of vandalism.
In 1909, The Little Mermaid statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen and sculpted by Edvard Erichsen. Ellen Prince, a well-known ballerina was the model for the head, while Edvard’s wife was the model for the mermaid’s nude figure.
Edvard had designed the mermaid to be human with a fish tail, looking out at sea, depicting the mermaid remembering her life in the sea.
The 107 year old statue was given as a gift to the city of Copenhagen on August 23rd, 1913- to honor Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of The Little Mermaid or Den Lille Havfrue. The statue attracts a million visitors a year and is Copenhagen’s largest tourist attraction.
The Little Mermaid is the story about a young mermaid, who rescues a human prince and falls in love with him. The story of The Little Mermaid is a cultural phenomenon and has been adapted into various films, ballets, TV Shows, paintings, etc.
Celine Lecomte is a self-taught French illustrator, who has been drawing Disney characters, since she was a little girl. Her digital illustrations are fashioned in the wildly popular chibi style. A key feature in the chibi style of illustration is that the characters are short, chubby, and adorable!
The characters in her illustrations are colorful, playful , and lighthearted. One feature that stands out for Celine’s work are that the character’s in her illustrations are very expressive, most notably with their large eyes.
Celine’s love of Disney and cartoons is apparent in her illustrations. She has drawn various Disney characters as mer-people (whether they are one or not)! Her love for all things Disney and mermaids are what makes her art fun!
One thing that makes Celine’s work so distinct and unique, is that it’s made for everyone!
Celine’s illustrations are so popular, that she has an Etsy shop, where she sells a variety of her mermaid art (prints), pins, and keychains. Her store is defiantly worth checking out! You never know, what kind of mermazing treasures you’ll find!
Back in the 90s, Disney Channel had new original movies released every single month. In May of 1999, that original movie was The Thirteenth Year.
“The Thirteenth Year” was directed by Duwayne Dunham and starred Chez Starbuck as Cody, Justin Jon Ross as Jess Wheatley, Courtnee Draper as Sam. Brent Briscoe as Big John Wheatley, Tim Redwine as Sean Marshall, Dave Couiler as Whit Griffin, Lisa Stahl as Sharon Griffin, and Stephanie Chantel Durelli as the Mermaid/Cody’s Mom.
Since The Thirteenth Year is a Disney Channel Original Movie it is rated G.
The movie opens when an ambitious fisherman named Big Jessie mistakes a mermaid for a large fish. As he’s hunting her down, using sonar technology, the mermaid places her newborn son in a small boat for safekeeping.
The mermaid goes back to Big Jessie’s boat and reveals herself to him. He’s in a state of shock and wonder.
Minutes later, the Griffin’s hears a baby crying and find the little boy on their boat. They name him Cody.
13 years later Cody is the most popular guy at his middle school and is the Captain of the swim team, the Marlons. He also has a beautiful girlfriend, Sam.
At Cody’s 13th birthday party, he invites the school nerd Jess to his birthday party. Sean makes rude remarks to Jess, about how he can’t swim, so Jess gives his birthday gift to Cody’s Mom and asks her to give it to him.
Shortly after a humiliated Jess leaves the party, Cody goes inside the house to get some water. Sam follows behind him and gives him his birthday gift: A frame with her picture in it and a kiss.
After the party, Cody’s adoptive parents tell him, now that he’s thirteen years old, his whole life is different. His Dad notices, the unopened gift from Jess and tosses it to him. Cody is at first, unimpressed that Jess gave him a copy of “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” by Jules Verne for his birthday. Cody isn’t a reader, he’s an athlete.
A few days after his birthday, Cody begins to feel ‘strange’. He needs to drink an excessive amount of water, his hands become sticky or slimy (like Spider-Man), he has an electric charge (like an eel), his speed in the water increases, and he has a weird scaly rash.
Not knowing where to turn, Cody confides in Jess about his fishy-like symptoms, knowing that Jess is very knowledgeable about marine biology and oceanography. Jess begins to run tests and comes to the conclusion that Cody is a merman.
When Jess tells Cody his theory, at first Cody is turned off by it, believing Jess made a mistake or has no idea, what he’s talking about. Seconds later, Cody tells Jess that he’s adopted and that he doesn’t know where he came from.
That night, Cody’s adoptive parent’s tell him how they found him in the sea. He shows them the scales on his hands and at first, his parents think nothing of it and even call the doctor. The doctor diagnoses him with puberty. But Cody, insists thats not the issue, and the changes are something else.
Cody begins to have dreams that he’s swimming under water and he doesn’t have to hold his breath. He sees a beautiful woman, luring him close with her glowing hands. The dream becomes repetitive and Cody comes the conclusion, that Jess’ merman theory is correct.
His adoptive parents finally believe that Cody’s becoming a merman, but don’t know how to help him. Cody becomes secretive around his friends, except for Jess and Sam is upset that Cody is pulling away from her. She begins to wonder, what is wrong with him and why he’s not being honest with her.
Meanwhile, Big Jessie notices the changes that Cody is experiencing and wonders if he’s connected to the mermaid he almost caught 13 years ago.Big Jess takes it upon himself to hunt the mermaid again, knowing she’ll surface again, to see her son, Cody.
Cody tries to continue normal life, despite becoming a merman and Sam discovers the truth, during nationals. Cody is forced to tell Sam the truth and learns that Big Jess is on the hunt for Cody and his mom, to prove that mermaids exist.
As Cody’s body progressively becomes more merman in the water, he realizes that to complete the transformation, he must see his mother in the sea. He goes into the water, despite his adoptive-parent’s wishes and is captured by Big Jess.
Jess, goes into the water and rescues Cody, despite the fact, that he can’t swim. Cody rescues Jess and Big Jess feels guilty for his actions and lets Cody go. Cody sees his real mother ascend from the water, calling him home. He jumps into the water, his mother’s hands glowing, and his transformation is complete.
Cody surfaces a merman. Sam tells him not to fall for any mermaids while he’s in the sea. Cody promises that he’ll return home at the end of the summer.
Cody leaps from the water and starts his new life as a merman.
Back in the 90s, Melissa Joan Hart became a household name, with her tv-series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The show was so popular, that the Wonderful World of Disney created a few made for TV movies and Sabrina Down Under was one of them!
Sabrina Down Under was written by Dan Berendsen and directed by Kenneth R. Koch.
The made for TV movie was released on September 26th, 1999.
The film opens with Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) flying over the great barrier reef on a helicopter and she catches a glimpse of a merman in the water. Sabrina thinks nothing of it, since she’s excited to explore and have fun with her clumsy, British friend Gwen (Tara Strong).
When Gwen meets Barnaby (Scott Michaelson) on the reef, she thinks he’s handsome and hopes to see him again, not realizing that he has a fishy secret.
Later on that day, as Sabrina and Gwen are strolling on the beach, they find something or someone beached on the shore. They are shocked to discover, that it’s a merman and it’s Barnaby.
Sabrina and Gwen, use their magic and transport Barnaby back to their hotel room. They are mortified to hear, that the mer-people colony is being poisoned by pollution in the water.
Sabrina gives Barnaby legs, so his symptoms won’t get worse and so he has the proper time to heal. Barnaby is enamored with the human world.
It doesn’t take long for Gwen and Sabrina to learn that pollution isn’t their only problem, regarding Barnaby’s mer-people colony. Marine Biologist Dr. Julian Martin (Peter O’Brien) wants to expose Barnaby’s mer-people colony to the world and become famous with his discoveries.
Sabrina and Barnaby fall in love, while the looming threat of Dr. Martin looms over their heads.
Sabrina befriends Dr. Martin and discovers that there’s a medication to help the mer-people who are getting sick. She takes the ointment to the mer-people colony, where she meets Fin (Lindsay Sloane), Barnaby’s sister.
Meanwhile, Sabrina’s feline companion Salem falls for witch-turned cat Hillary, but like always, Sabrina’s problems ruins his plans.
When Sabrina’s spell on Barnaby wears off and he’s no longer human, he’s caught by Dr. Martin who takes matters into his own hands and places him in a tank. Dr. Martin calls the press, claiming that he’s made a discovery of a lifetime. A merman. Sabrina and Gwen are devastated, so they take a risk of revealing their witchy powers and go out and save him.
Against all odds, they rescue Barnaby and return him to the sea. Dr. Martin leans the error of his ways and vows to no longer hunt down the mer-colony for profit. Rather, he vows to protect them and to bring more awareness to pollution.
Sabrina Down Under is definitely a nostalgic movie for anyone who grew up in the 90s. It’s filled with lessons about pollution disrupting the environment, friendship, loyalty, and love.
Cosplayer. Singer. Actress. Model. Traci Hines does it all.
What Traci is best known for are her music videos as one of Disney’s most iconic heroines, Ariel, from The Little Mermaid. Traci puts her soul (and her voice) into her music videos and it feels like you’re watching the animated films, coming to life.
It’s obvious, by watching the music videos, that music and cosplay are Traci’s passions. Which is an inspiring thing to see!
Traci’s videos blossomed on Youtube, where she took her love of singing and cosplay and blended the two seamlessly. After every music video, Traci personally thanks everyone who made it possible. Which makes them all the more special.
She embraces her fans with a whole heart and even takes their requests for her music videos.
Traci encourages her fans to share their voice to be unafraid to do so. Which is powerful. When we find our voice, we find our inner power and believe in yourself. Traci understands, that everyone’s journey has its own ups and downs, and is always willing to be a beacon of light, hope, and inspiration in her Instagram stories and posts. She’s unfiltered and raw in her own struggles and is there for her fans, reading every comment and always encouraging her fans to chase their dreams. That’s a blessing!
Traci is truly gifted in the art of storytelling with her music videos and cosplays. To be honest, the cosplay world, wouldn’t be the same without her.
Thank you Traci, for blessing us with your voice, music videos, and cosplays! You’re an inspiration to all of us!
For those who truly know me, know that Sierra Boggess has been an inspiration of mine since 2008. That year, Sierra originated the role as Ariel and made her Broadway debut in Disney’s stage musical adaption of The Little Mermaid.
Something in my heart, knew that my life would change forever when I purchased the soundtrack (compact disc) at Border’s Bookstore. And it did. The soundtrack changed my life and to this day, it’s always on repeat. But more importantly, Sierra’s message of:
You are Enough.
You are so Enough.
It’s Unbelievable how Enough You are!
Sierra and her voice, has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams, when I had many telling me I couldn’t or I wasn’t good enough. Whenever I listen to her sing Part of Your World or If Only (Quartet), I’m reminded that our dreams are worth striving for, regardless of what others say and that making sacrifices is part of that journey.
I personally use my Light Lessons by Sierra Boggess as motivation and inspiration daily. Sierra’s Light Lesson’s are daily reminders that you can change the world with kindness and gratitude practice. That we can all lift each other up, by showing the world, our best selves and recognizing our enoughness!
So how did Sierra Boggess land the iconic role of Ariel on Broadway?
In 2006, Sierra went to New York to audition for a new production of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical The Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas. Before she had boarded her flight, Sierra got a call that she had landed the role of Christine. It was a role of a lifetime!
As an alternate Christine, she would perform alongside Brent Barrett and Anthony Crivello as her Phantom’s. This production was directed by Hal Prince. The show opened on June 24th, 2006.
Sierra dazzled the Las Vegas stage as Christine, embodying the character’s innocence, empathy, and strength, unlike any other actress before her.
In October 2006, Sierra returned to New York to audition for Disney’s new musical The Little Mermaid for the role of Ariel. The musical would be based off of Disney’s animated film version of The Little Mermaid. Sierra unfortunately, didn’t receive a call-back for the audition, so she returned to Las Vegas, and continued to play Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.
While she was attending a yoga class in January 2007, Sierra received a call from her agent telling her to “fly to NYC in three days for a final callback for The Little Mermaid. “And that is how she got the iconic role of Ariel on Broadway!
On November 3rd, 2007 the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in NYC, Sierra Boggess made her Broadway debut as Ariel! The official opening night for the production of The Little Mermaid was January 10th, 2008.
As a fan of Sierra’s, since her Broadway debut, I don’t think she understood the impact, she would later have on musical theater and on the lives of many. I have fond memories of watching Sierra sing Part of Your World on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Tony Awards, and so many other TV programs, desperately wishing I could someday see her perform live.
Sierra received nominations from Drama Desk and Drama League and won the Broadway.com Favorite Breakthrough Performance for her role as Ariel!
Thank you Sierra Boggess, for inspiring so many and to embrace who they are! You are a true inspiration and incredible performer! And remember…You are Enough. You are so Enough. It’s unbelievable how Enough You Are!
The Walt Disney Studios have always had a long time fascination with mermaids and Disneyland is no exception. The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California opened it’s gates on July 17th, 1955. It was the only park to be designed and built to completion, with direct supervision, by the company’s founder Walt E. Disney.
In 1959, when the Submarine Voyage opened at the Disneyland, there were two attractions, there were eight mermaids selected to be apart of the festive celebration.
So how did Disney find such beautiful mermaids for their lagoon?
Prior, to the opening in June, there was an open casting call to find female swimmers with long hair. The auditions were held at the Disneyland Hotel swimming pool.
The lucky girls, who got hired as mermaids, practiced at the Disneyland Hotel pool, before they were given their tails and were allowed access to swim in the park. They were also paid $45 a week, which was a lot for that time.
A few weeks, prior to the June opening, the girls selected to be mermaids at the park, practiced in Submarine Lagoon. They were surrounded by construction, as the Matterhorn was being constructed, as well as the final touches for Submarine Lagoon. They were warned, to keep their distance from the submarine, since there was no barrier.
When the Submarine Lagoon did open in June, the mermaids would safely swim around the submarine, giving guests a jaw dropping and memorable experience underwater and above the surface. The mermaids would perform tricks, such as flips and turns with their tails. Their costumes consisted of a starfish top and a beautiful neoprene tail.
Guests, could also see the mermaids aboard the monorail, that transported park guests from the Disneyland Hotel to Disneyland.
As part of the design of the lagoon, there was rock, that would provide warmth for the mermaids, since the water was 55-degrees and was freezing cold. The rock, became the hangout spot for the mermaids to warm up in the sun and chat amongst themselves. It was also a great spot for guests to see a breathtaking scene of mermaids lounging in the sun.
Unfortunately, the mermaids at the lagoon, were shut down, due to ongoing safety concerns and regulations.
As someone, whose a Disney Parks enthusiasts and a lover of all things mermaids, it must’ve been so magical to witness those mermaids at Disneyland.