Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MFA in Dance

First Advisor

Peggy Gould

Second Advisor

John Jasperse


This research explores the South Bronx and its immediate neighbors such as East Harlem, also known as El Barrio, between the nineteen-sixties and the early two-thousands for the intersections of Salsa and Hip Hop, not only as music genres and dance forms, but, as political movements calling to the socio-political climate of state neglect and abandonment of the residents. These neighborhoods are central to the origination of both Salsa and Hip Hop, and were shaped through the diversity of their inhabitants who embodied, celebrated, protested, and lifted their communities through engagement in these art forms. Tracing the intersections amplifies the connection between the two art forms, which in turn provides more clarity on the divergence in paths that each form has taken towards commercialization. Tracking the political economy of these two social dances can shed light on potential futures of these forms as they continue to push into the contemporary.

Extensive research on each dance form exists separately, but often the information about their origins is met with brevity or excluded altogether. I was unable to unearth detailed research that placed these two art forms in dialogue with one another or traced the intersections. Therefore, it is important to situate these dance styles from their place of origin in context to one another through the socio-political climate at their births. I compiled research from scholars that utilize (i) theory supported through the embodied practice methods employed by the dance practitioners, (ii) documentaries that include visual images and interviews with residents/dancers from these neighborhoods that further support the theory, and (iii) newspaper articles from the seventies and eighties that render the discourse at the time. All of this work is situated within and in dialogue with Cultural studies, Latina/o studies, and Black studies.

Included in

Dance Commons