Category: Dance

Brazilian Breakdancing

When you think about breakdancing, images of kids popping, locking, and wind-milling, hand- standing, shoulder-rolling, and hand-jumping, might come to mind. And those kids might be city kids dancing in vacant lots and playgrounds. Now, New England kids of all classes and cultures are getting a chance to practice break-dancing in their school gyms and then go learn about it in a teaching unit designed by Veronica …

Dance Revolution: Creating Global Citizens in the Favelas of Rio

Yolanda Demétrio stares out the window of our public bus in Rio de Janeiro, on our way to visit her dance colleagues at Rio’s avant-garde cultural center, Fundição Progresso. Yolanda is a 37-year-old dance teacher, homeowner, social entrepreneur and former favela (Brazilian urban shantytown) resident. She is the founder and director of Espaço Aberto (Open Space), an organization through which Yolanda has nearly …

Disruption in the Immigrant Experience: Colombian Youth Dance Their Way to Continuity

Imagine you are fifteen years old. As an immigrant who has lived in the United States for a few years, you are still trying to find your place. You decide to join a group that dances the traditional dances of your country. You practice every week on Fridays, when you could be going to the movies or hanging out with your friends. Your goal is to perform in that big annual show a lot of people have told you about. That day has finally …

Review of Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico

Lou Dobbs and other talk show hosts want us to believe that a so-called Mexican invasion is denying “true” Americans their jobs, democracy and destiny. Few among them comment on a peaceful, more subtle Mexican “invasion” that will help us see why fears of blending Mexican and U.S. culture are misplaced. One by one, since the turn of the century, anthologies of a Mexican poetry trumpeting innovation and diversity have been …

Review of The Hispanic World and American Intellectual Life, 1820-1880

Iván Jaksić’s highly original and engaging scholarship on the origins of U.S. academic interest in Ibero-America brilliantly reveals previously unknown trans-Atlantic and Western hemisphere intellectual networks. His research focuses on the life, interactions and contributions of those Jaksić calls“the pioneer American scholars and lifetime students of the Hispanic World”—Washington Irving, George Ticknor, Henry Wadsworth …

Review of Going Local: Decentralization, Democratization, and the Promise of Good Governance

This methodologically rigorous and carefully crafted book is an exercise in good scholarship. Like its subject of good governance, it is an embodiment of leadership, performance, accountability and a commitment to constructive policymaking. Merilee Grindl has already made her reputation as a painstaking scholar of governance, bureaucracy and policymaking in Latin America and across the developing world, but Going Local …

Making A Difference: Connecting the Diaspora with Caribbean NGOs

E.One.Caribbean, an initiative based at LASPAU, seeks to engage the Caribbean diaspora in reinvigorating their home countries by providing financial, volunteer, and capacity-building resources to NGOs whose work addresses the social problems that threaten long-term economic and cultural viability. The program was developed by Norris Prevost—a longtime member of the Parliament of Dominica and recent graduate of the …

Making A Difference: Insects and Internet: Saving a National Treasure in Hispaniola

On July 11, 2007, the oldest university in the Americas, the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), marked the first anniversary of the entry of its natural history collections into the digital global community. These priceless collections record the changing abundances of species over the 20th century, including many species new to science and some that are perhaps already extinct. The collections of insects alone are …

The Flight of a Moment

Dancers are often thought to move their muscles, yet neglect to develop their brains. Dance is absent from most academic studies. Perhaps this is because dance takes place in the flight of a moment. It cannot be placed on a wall, filmed for television or recorded for later listening pleasures. It is something alive and vivid—something that can show national identity or its evolution in history. Cuban choreographer and dancer Ramiro …

Beyond Tourism: Are Blocos Taking Back Carnaval?

A tall and thin, tan, dark-haired young carioca—a native of Rio de Janeiro—is costumed as an indigenous Brazilian. Her long feathered skirt covers flip-flopped feet; atop, a simple cotton tank is adorned with necklaces, armbands obscuring her upper arms. The thick stripe of yellow paint across her eyes and dart of red across the bridge of the nose don’t reveal her intent: soon she is jumping up and down, then swinging round and …

Danzas y Juegos en las Alturas

La difícil transición democrática paraguaya iniciada luego de un cruento golpe de estado contra el dictador Alfredo Stroessner (02-03-89) ha significado para los artistas un nuevo escenario lleno de desafíos emergentes. Desde entonces hemos visto las dificultades de construir un lenguaje lleno de vitalidad, compromiso y de alegría de vivir en libertad….

My Time as a Brazilian Passista

Although my behind is not all that curvaceous and I lack melanin in my skin tone, I somehow managed to pass for as a mulata passista. I am neither mulata nor a trained passista—a young woman, generally with a tiny outfit and curvy physique, who usually dances in front of the bateria during Rio´s carnival parade. I was a Harvard sophomore studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro and my training in ballet, modern and world dance had …

Disabling the “Tourist Gaze”: Protecting and Projecting Cultural Heritage through Dance

We hurried along the slim embankment on the bohemian side of the river as night fell in the city, nervously evaluating our distance from the dimly lit bridge that would carry us to a more cosmopolitan borough. Imagining the theater’s great gilded doors slammed closed before our arrival in the famed sixth district, we struggled to increase our pace, forsaking many sidewalk cafés en route to the night’s festivities but our stiff, …

Dance and the Cold War: Exports to Latin America

It was November 1954 in the middle of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviets had been investing heavily in exporting their artists, and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was convinced we needed to compete in that arena. In November 1954, the José Limón Dance Company was sent by the State Department to perform in Latin America, thus launching the first government-sponsored …

Ballet Folklórico Mexicano

Ballet folklórico—traditional Mexican folk dancing—has become a defining element of Mexican popular culture at the national and international levels, despite the prevalence of foreign influences in modern Mexican “pop” culture. Although its history is chaotic, ballet folklórico has successfully carved itself a niche in the Mexican psyche . Periodic waves of Mexican nationalism during the 19th and 20th centuries reinvigorated folk …

Bilingual: Dancing Devils in Puno, Perú: A Summary

English + EspañolI remember the setting well because the name captivated me: Ruinas del Gran Hotel. It was exactly that: the remains of a luxurious building that, from the 1940s until the earthquake that destroyed Managua the day before Christmas Eve of 1972, had lodged distinguished guests and stars of the international jet set. It was located on Avenida Roosevelt, in what had begun to be remembered in my …

Bilingual: Lessons in Güegüense: An Old Dancer

English + EspañolI remember the setting well because the name captivated me: Ruinas del Gran Hotel. It was exactly that: the remains of a luxurious building that, from the 1940s until the earthquake that destroyed Managua the day before Christmas Eve of 1972, had lodged distinguished guests and stars of the international jet set. It was located on Avenida Roosevelt, in what had begun to be remembered in my …

Sacred Dance in the Peruvian Highlands

Long ago, a young shepherd named Marianito Mayta lived in the mountains above Mahuayani, caring for his aging father and tolerating the abuse of his lazy older brother. One day, a boy appeared who began to help Marianito with his chores. The Ocongate priest soon learned of this strange boy, whose white garments never ripped or stained, and, accusing him of stealing clothing from the church’s saints, decided to catch the rogue. …

Knowledgeable Bodies: Basque Traditional Dance and Nationalism

Imagine you are vacationing on the beach in Spain. What if you step out of your hotel on the first morning and see masses of people swarming toward you, brandishing flags and shouting in a language you don’t understand, as masked policemen clad in black and red jump suits and big black boots encourage orderl? Down at the plaza, silent attention to speeches alternates with loud chanting. Fists jut into the air, unmoving. …

Más Allá de los Clichés: Dance and Identity in Cuba

In 1955, the prolific Cuban scholar and ethnologist, Fernando Ortiz, claimed “dance is the principal and most enthusiastic diversion of the Cuban people, it is their most genuinely indigenous production and universal exportation.” Dance may not be the Cuban diversion, but the identification of Cuba with dance certainly surfaces in the popular imagination—most recently in Hollywood’s Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and decades …

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