About Us

Moves & Grooves ("MAG") was founded in 2002 by Dr. Emerald Mitchell with the goal of enhancing the academic achievement of children through creative arts programs.

In 2003, Moves & Grooves began operating with a contract with three Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide dance and tutoring inside the classroom. Since those humbled beginnings, MAG has made its home in South Nashville, Tennessee and now serves over 200 children annually. In 2012, Moves & Grooves was selected by Mayor Karl Dean as a Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) Anchor Partner. Currently, the after school program has expanded to serve an additional 75 students at Croft, Apollo, Antioch, Thurgood Marshall, IT Creswell and John Early Middle Schools in Davidson County. MAG opened its first elementary school site in January 2015 at A.Z. Kelley Elementary school, where it serves 60 students. Notably, A.Z. Kelley serves as a feeder school for three of the middle schools where MAG is currently operating.

This art-infused Project Based Learning experience is FREE of charge to all middle students attending these schools. The organization has also been privileged to receive two editorial interviews highlighted in the Tennessean newspaper in 2013-2014 and received financial support from the HCA Foundation, Metro Development & Housing Agency. The organization recently received a multi-year grant from the 21st Century LEAPS Lottery Fund to support additional STEM programing afterschool for young girls. Wal-Mart, Tennessee Arts Commission and generous donors across the state have also continued to support our enrichment efforts.

Moves & Grooves is a non-profit organization seeking to inspire youth to create for themselves, discover, learn and grow through the arts. As Moves & Grooves celebrates over a decade of service, it is a testament to young people that using your talents to inspire others is one of the most powerful things that you can do in life and using your gifts to serve others can be most rewarding. In 2020 and beyond, Moves & Grooves will continue to fulfill its mission to enhance the academic achievement of children through creative arts programs.


  • Through hard work and perseverance, Moves & Grooves student Jasmine Blackburn was selected as a performer in this year’s Holiday Magic Nutcracker performance with the Nashville Ballet. “Moves & Grooves helped me to build confidence in myself to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to. I am grateful for the help from Mrs. Mitchell and other staff at Moves & Grooves who always encouraged me to do my best!”

    Jasmine Blackburn

After two months of intensive practice, planning and campaigning, over 600 Croft Middle School students voted to crown Reagan Jones as its Sweetheart of the Year. Reagan's award was celebrated at the Moves & Grooves Sweetheart Dinner and Dance at Croft Middle School, which served as a fundraiser for a year-end field trip for the school's MAG NAZA program. Through MAG, the students worked in teams to plan decorations, color schemes, food, and gift basket ideas for the dance.

Jhaquelle Love participated in the Moves & Grooves summer program and was a 6ft 2inch, 270lb offensive and defensive lineman for the Overton High School Bobcats. Contrary to his size, Jhaquelle is a soft-natured young man with a heart of gold. When Jhaquelle began the MAG summer program as a 5th grader at W.A. Bass Middle School, he was very quiet and introverted. As he matured and became more outgoing, Jhaquelle became the life of the party and, eventually, a MAG employee. Jhaquelle worked with the MAG students after school and during the summer while still in high school as a counselor. Teaching respect and responsibility to boys and girls who were just like him, was something that made Jhaquelle proud. Jhaquelle is planning to attend college in the Fall of 2011 and has already been sought after by several universities throughout the south. Jhaquelle went to attend and play college football at Tennessee State University.

You may not be able to tell, but Shanese Brown used to be a timid young girl who would rather be in the background than in front of any camera. When Shanese joined MAG's Ladies of Purpose mentoring program, she had no idea that she would soon be standing in the spotlight. After graduating from the Ladies of Purpose program, Shanese remained active with Moves & Grooves by helping elementary school students with reading and craft activities and speaking with young teens about healthy living and the importance of setting goals. In 2011, Shanese was crowned Miss Tennessee Teen USA and has since gone on study architecture at the University of Tennessee. “If it wasn’t for Moves & Grooves and the Ladies of Purpose program, I wouldn’t be the confident person you see today. Ms. Kifah and Mrs. Emerald saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and I am thankful for them and what they do for young girls like me.”