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Mermaiding (also referred to as artistic mermaiding, mermaidry, or artistic mermaid performance) is the practice of swimming while wearing a costume mermaid tail. In the beginning of the twentieth mermaiding was sometimes referred to as water ballet, but it is not currently a term that is used much. Mermaiding should not be confused with modern synchronized swimming, although there can be some overlap if a mermaid performance troupe is performing a synchronized routine. Mermaiding is both a profession and a hobby. Professional mermaids will often swim in live, filmed, or photographed productions or shows and can be hired for special events. Nonprofessional enthusiasts swim in tails at their local pools, lakes, rivers, or seashores. Mermaiding is popular with all ages and genders. Mermaiding practitioners are sometimes called mermaids, professional mermaids, or occasionally, water ballerinas. Within the community, mermaid can be shortened to “mer.”