“Alright, chicos, chicas!” Choreographer Liliana Bravo, WC ’17, calls to a room full of dancers. “Listos?”
The five couples, standing in front of mirrors at a dance studio in the Robins Center, come together in a starting pose. As a Latin rendition of “Crazy in Love” drifts from the speakers, the dancers begin to perform the bachata.
The couples are members of Ritmo Latino, University of Richmond’s Latin dance group. This bachata performance is one of many that will be featured in the group’s 6th annual spring showcase this weekend.
“Every time I think about it, I get butterflies,” Bravo, one of the club’s presidents and choreographers, said.
In the month leading up to the showcase, dancers and choreographers have been nitpicking moves and perfecting dances at long practices multiple nights a week. Their hard work will come together at The Pier at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.
Different combinations of the group’s roughly 25 members will perform in nine dances throughout the showcase. The majority of the dances have Hispanic influences and include reggaeton, bachata, merengue, salsa, kizomba, belly dance, tango and flamenco.
The showcase will also include performances by other campus dance groups such as Embody, Block Crew and Ngoma, along with free food and an after party.
“I’m confident that it’s going to be good,” Bravo said. “Even if we make mistakes, I think the audience really likes it because it’s something different. It’s something they don’t see throughout the year.”
Dani Sanchez, WC ’17, has been a member of Ritmo Latino since her freshman year. Sanchez, who is originally from Ecuador, said she liked the style of music because it reminded her of home.
“It’s not what you typically listen to at other parties,” Sanchez said. “The songs that we do for the showcase are songs that I wouldn’t usually be exposed to on campus, that the majority of students aren’t listening to.”
As a group, Ritmo Latino spends the first semester each year learning the basic steps that become building blocks for several Latin dances. The spring semester is dedicated entirely to choreographing, teaching and learning the dances for the showcase.
Bravo said that this year, the group had tried to incorporate more complicated moves than in past showcases.
“We’re going to have a lot of spins and a lot of acrobatics—attempts at acrobatics,” Bravo said.
“It’s going to be great,” Sanchez said. “We always manage to pull it off. Every year, we’re always really stressed the two weeks leading up to it, and then it all works out.”
Contact writer Missy Schrott at email@example.com.