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Más Flow brings new edge to dance

If you walked into Dillon Gymnasium around 6 p.m. last Saturday, you probably saw a row of students sporting marathon-style bib numbers stapled to their shirts waiting to climb the stairs to the Group Fitness Room. Fifteen minutes later, the doors to the room opened, and the crowd began funneling in. Auditions for Más Flow, “Princeton’s premier Latin dance group,” had begun. Inside the room, the 30-odd people who had come to participate in the three-hour audition process were directed into orderly rows of five. Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida” played over unseen speakers.

The prospective hopefuls auditioning for the group knew Más Flow based on their impromptu performances at the Activities Fair — an event they used to showcase their skills rather than just solicit new members; however, few students on campus know the history of the group which seemed to pop onto Princeton’s dance scene almost instantaneously. After watching the promotional video posted onMás Flow’s YouTube pageto hype up the auditions and seeing the 16-dancer crew decked out in Más Flow gear to lead the participants in some choreography, even I had trouble believing the group is only a year-and-a-half old.

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When co-founder and current co-president Sharim Estevez ’16 visited campus during Princeton Preview in 2012, she was surprised not to see a Latin dance group featured among the acts at performing arts showcase This Side of Princeton.

In the fall of Estevez’s freshman year, Vicky Quevedo ’15 — now a member of Más Flow — began to organize a Hispanic Heritage Month talent show for Princeton Latinos y Amigos, a club dedicated to celebrating and sharing Latin American heritage. Quevedo asked Estevez if she would like to perform in it.

“We kind of just got a couple of people together, called ourselves Más Flow, and just did the talent show,” Estevez said of performance. “And after that, we were like, you know, we should start [the dance company].”

In spring 2013, Estevez and co-president Gerson Leiva ’16 officially founded the only urban Latin dance company on campus. Ballet Folklórico de Princeton is also technically a Latin dance group, but it concentrates on the traditional Mexican folkloric dance that is its namesake.

Last year, Más Flow performed at a variety of events including the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton Caribbean Connection’s Taste of Carnival. Black Arts Company: Dance, Ballet Folklórico and Naacho each chose to feature the group as guest performers in their spring shows. Más Flow will have its own first full-length show this spring.

“I think [Más Flow has] been received really well,” member Victoria Navarro ’17 said. “A lot of people tell me that it’s really cool, it’s really neat, it’s something that, even if they can’t be a part of, they want to learn how to do the dances, and I think it’s really cool that people are interested in the styles that we do.”

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Más Flow focuses on Salsa, Bachata, Merengue and Reggaeton, though the group has also dabbled in Cumbia.

Navarro in particular joined the group as a freshman because it’s a way for her to connect with her home.

“I live on the border at home. Coming here, for me, it was something I really wanted to do,” Navarro said of her motivation to pursue Latin dancing at the University. “These dances I’ve learned in family parties — things like that; I’ve never really taken lessons, but it’s something that is very much a part of home.”

Estevez rattled off a list of other reasons that people join: “Some people want to learn … Some people love the music but don’t necessarily know how to dance to the music. Some people have taken classes for fun.”

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However, all three members interviewed emphasized that no experience is necessary to audition for the group.

“We love everyone,” Leiva said. “We don’t discourage anyone [from] trying out. I think that’s one thing we get across … no experience necessary. We really want all the people that don’t know the dances to come out.”

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