By Timothy Thomas
One of the organizations that has existed in the city of Richmond for several years is Muevelo. They’re a dance team at Virginia Commonwealth University that was established in 2009. The word Muevelo means “move it”. Their primary goal is to enrich the community through dance. One way they do this is by dancing at different locations throughout the city. Havana 59 is a Latin dance club in Richmond in which Muevelo members partake in dancing. The team is Latin based, but it’s not exclusively Latin. They express many cultural backgrounds and people of all different races and ethnicities can join their group. Their dance practices include students of Hispanic, Caucasian and African American backgrounds. Muevelo is a very diverse organization, and the members of their group reflect that.
Muevelo practices many different forms of dance: salsa, bachata and hip-hop. Throughout the week, their student organization holds multiple practices in which they go over their entire routine. Two people, typically one male and one female, dance together. They go over different steps and the sessions last between one and two hours. Based on their behavior, the students who participate seem to be very passionate about dancing. Segen Matthews, Vice President of Muevelo, shared what dancing means to her. “Dancing is something I enjoy doing, but it also relieves stress and is a nice escape from all the pressure of school work,” said Matthews. The participants of Muevelo practice weekly and have been doing so since the start of the semester.
Although Muevelo is mostly a VCU organization, some of its members also dance at different locations around the city. One of the locations Muevelo members can be found dancing is Emilio’s on West Broad Street. On Tuesdays, they have salsa night and people from all different backgrounds participate. DJ Stephen Greene, who has been at Emilio’s for 12 years now, shared his observations. “I’ve been a DJ here for a long time, and over the years I’ve seen hundreds of VCU students come dance. The best part is that people from all different backgrounds and ethnicities dance together and everyone has a good time,” said Greene.
Since its inception in 2009, Muevelo has become more popular over the years. The students who dance at Emilio’s, and other locations throughout the city, have only given it more exposure and brought more prominence to bachata, Latin and hip-hop dance.