Mermaids Splash into South Jordan Pool
Jun 10, 2016 09:13AM
By Tori La Rue
Members of the Utah Mermaids group sport their mermaid attire as they pose for a picture. – Utah Mermaids
By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
The South Jordan Fitness and Aquatic center sees thousands of visitors each year, but June 4 marks the first time that mermaids will enter the building.
Members of Utah Mermaids, a local performing group, will do flips, splashes, tandem tricks, handstands and pinwheels through the aquatic center pool while wearing costumes and mono fins, a type of swim fin that links a swimmer’s feet together, as part of South Jordan’s Summerfest celebration. During the mermaid show, the performers will teach about marine biology and mythology. After the show, children are invited to get into the pool and swim with the mermaids.
“The kids light up when they see us, and it is very magical for them,” Yazmine Tatiana, Utah Mermaids event coordinator and business manager, said. “It’s cool for us too, to see that there’s still imagination in our world because the kids really see the mermaids in a way that adults don’t.”
South Jordan welcomed Utah Mermaids to Summerfest 2016 after a representative from Utah Mermaids described their program to city staff.
“They are just so cute and novel for us,” Melinda Seager, South Jordan’s associate director of administrative services, said. “It’s such an intriguing little group, and so far I’ve already heard of a lot of local families who are interested in the event.”
Utah Mermaids used to consist of four girls who occasionally attended the Utah Renaissance Festival dressed in mermaid costume. Now they are the largest mermaid performing group in the Western United States with 17 performers.
“I never thought we’d actually be able to make a business out of this,” she said. “It’s been a really enlightening experience for me. It’s a really fun hobby and pastime, and I think the hardest part about it is learning when to put the tail away.”
Tatiana explained that the performers love putting on the shows as much as the children enjoy watching them.
“It’s kind of magical,” she said. “When you put your tail on, you are a fairy tale version of yourself. The way people react to you in your tail is life changing. You see how people perceive you, and that changes you. It’s been really confidence building for all of us.”
The mermaid impersonators try to take the confidence they’ve gained from performing and pass it along to those in the audience at their shows, Tatiana said. They also invite more performers to join their shows yearly through auditions.
They seriously consider people who are confident swimming, Tatiana said, but they’re also willing to teach and train mermaids if they fit in with the other performers and have other unique experience that would contribute to the group. Several of the mermaids are scuba divers, free divers and have taken advanced courses in gymnastics.
The auditions bring out up to 20 potential performers, and it’s a hard decision to select the new mermaids, Tatiana said. People interested in trying out for Utah Mermaids may check out their website at utahmermaids.com for more information.
The South Jordan performance is free, open to the public and has two sessions—from 12 to 2 p.m. and then again from 3 to 5 p.m. on June 4. The mermaids will be swimming at 10866 Redwood Rd.
The mermaid show and swim is just one addition to the South Jordan’s annual summer festival. This year the BMX demo and battle of the bands competition are also new, and the name of the original festival, “County Fest,” was changed to “Summerfest” this year.
“It’s all part of trying to meet the needs of the community,” Seager said. “The community is ever changing, and the festival is, too.”