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Pachuco, Nostalgia, Danzón, and Masculinity on the Mexican Dance Floor

Thursday, 07 March, 2013

The Distinguished Lecture Series in Musicology proudly presents Dr. Alejandro Madrid, Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, in a presentation titled: "Pachuco, Nostalgia, Danzón, and Masculinity on the Mexican Dance Floor.

Thursday, March 7, 2013, 2:10–3:25 PM, AMB 32.  This event is free and open to the public. 

Based on fieldwork in Mexico City this paper takes the notion of nostalgia to explore how contemporary male dancers of danzón develop musical and dancing personae in relation to media representations of 1940s and 1950s Mexican masculinities. The paper focuses on the pachucos, a growing group of dancers from different danzón scenes in the country that get their inspiration from zoot suit culture to generate icons of Mexican masculinity based on values that contemporary society growingly finds more and more objectionable. I argue that the public presentation of their pachuco dancing persona provides a space for the negotiation of their aspirations and desires, and the expectations from society. These pachuco dancing personae bring back the mystique of chivalry and aggressiveness of a masculinity found desirable at the height of the Mexican project of nation building, but one that seems to slowly fade away in the growingly transnational culture that contemporary Mexicans live in. However, I suggest that Mexican danzón dancing pachuco represent a contradictory and obscure aspect of gender relations that placed masculinity at the center of Mexican nationality and refuses to go away in contemporary Mexico. (See also,




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