Crystal D’Abbraccio has been in love with dancing for as long as she can remember. Starting at the age of five, her training was well rounded, progressing through performance, to costumes design, to dance education. Since moving to St. John in 2012, Crystal has taught dance, theater and creative movement to both children and adults.
Crystal’s passion for dance, creative movement education and costuming has fused with her love of the ocean to become Mermaid Swim VI.
“I have always loved Mermaids, so after moving here, the idea for Mermaid Swim VI popped into my head when I saw a girl swim in her pool with a monofin.”
In 2014, Crystal started purchasing mermaid tails to share with her island friends. At the time, there were quite a few mermaid schools popping up, but Crystal was the first to bring the concept to the Virgin Islands.
“Sharing love for the ocean by pretending to be a mermaid opens people’s eyes in a different way. People of all ages and genders enjoy a safe space to explore the magic of mermaids. It is so fun to watch as they transform and let their inhibitions melt away. I encourage people to join the merfolk. Mermaid Swim VI is the one and only mermaid experience in the VI.”
Crystal is also an ambassador for a non-profit called Save the Mermaids. Through the program, Crystal’s mermaids educate the community about human-sourced ocean pollution. The mermaids advocate behavior that benefits the ocean environment. The idea of a mermaid pleading for a safe and clean ocean home is a compelling one.
In Crystal’s shop, next to Pickles in Paradise Deli in Coral Bay, she sells t-shirts that support this program. She has plans to bring more educational programs to the VI in 2018. She also sponsors local beach cleanups and “plastic free for the sea” programs.
“Educating our island visitors and community about ocean conservation, sunscreen choices and no single use plastic is my priority. Treating Mother Earth with love and respect is the reason why St. John is so beautiful. I feel it is our duty to encourage people to do their part and contribute.”
In her free time, Crystal enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. If that isn’t enough, Crystal is also the owner of Tiny Tile Mosaics where she creates stunning works of tile art and distributes mosaic supplies to artists all over the world.
“I encourage our visitors to try living a simple life when visiting our island and to be thoughtful of the footprint they leave behind. Leave the cell phone at home, bring a refillable water bottle and reusable shopping bag. Respect the wildlife and leave it untouched. Be a part of the colorful culture and enjoy the natural beauty. Become one with the island.”