"Disney's The Little Mermaid" is set under the sea, but Dublin Jerome High School students will be airborne during parts of their production of the musical.

The production begins Nov. 16 at the school, and will feature students in grades K-5 graders from throughout the district as well as Jerome students.

As Prince Eric, junior Kyle Swearingen is brushing up on more than his singing skills.

Swearingen, 17, will use aerial skills during the scene in the musical when Eric, who nearly drowns, is saved by Ariel.

Swearingen said he taught himself the skill and has been practicing it for about 2 1/2 years.

"It's a lot of endurance and staying calm," he said.

The Little Mermaid herself also will leave the ground for parts of her performance.

Grace Vetter, a 17-year-old senior, plays the role of Ariel, and is teaching herself how to use the lyra hoop, which can be raised or lowered from the stage's rafters.

"I have never used a lyra hoop before," Vetter said.

To prepare, Vetter said she is incorporating some of the skills she learned from taking dance classes for about 14 years. She is also strengthening her upper body with push-ups and pull-ups, she said.

Vetter credits Swearingen for thinking of using the lyra hoop to help convey that Ariel is underwater.

"I instantly fell in love with the idea," she said. "I thought it was so cool."

Vetter will be suspended from the hoop during the production when Ariel transforms from mermaid to human, after which the hoop will rise and the curtain will close, she said.

Drama Director Patricia Scott said the play is full of special effects, such as a black light that will help the production's jelly fish glow.

"It's just very, very colorful," she said.

"Disney's The Little Mermaid" will be presented at 7 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Nov. 16, and Friday and Saturday Nov. 17 and 18. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. The performances will be in the theater at Jerome, 8300 Hyland-Croy Road. For more information, visit dublinschools.net.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

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