My scholarship focuses on social dance practices of the Americas with particular emphasis on Latin American and Afro-diasporic traditions. Much of my work examines how commodification and globalization alter dance traditions and shape public (mis)perceptions about Latinness. My work is political in that it interrogates how race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality are produced, negotiated, and contested through dance practice and commerce. Although my scholarship engages in theoretical discourse around issues of identity and appropriation, I strive to make it accessible and useful to the communities of salsa, mambo, rumba, tango, swing, and ballroom dancers about whom I write. I consider myself a dance historian, but I employ diverse research methods, including ethnographic fieldwork, oral history, close movement analysis, reconstruction, and archival research.
Notable works include:
For an introduction to my work, I recommend:
- This Interview with Peter Kelly about my book Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce
- This short blog post "Salsa or Tango: Which Latin Dance is Right for You?"
- This popular scholarly article “Reality Check: Dancing with the Stars and the American Dream.”
Download full list of publications.