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. Current projects include research on open-role dancing, affirmative consent, and social dance pedagogies.
Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce
This history of salsa dance in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami examines how commercialized salsa in the 1990s departed from 1950s mambo. Based on over 100 oral history interviews, archival research, and ethnographic participant observation, the book is rich with quotes from practitioners.
McMains, Juliet. “Fostering a Community of Consent in Social Dance Communities.” Journal of Dance Education, January 2021. DOI: 10.1080/15290824.2020.1851693.
McMains, Juliet. “Rebellious Wallflowers and Queer Tangueras: Female Leaders in Buenos Aires’ Argentine Tango Scene.” Dance Research, 36, no. 2 (2018): 173–197. DOI: 10.3366/drs.2018.0237
McMains, Juliet. “Re-Claiming Competitive Tango: The Rise of Argentina’s Campeonato Mundial.” In Oxford Handbook of Dance and Competition, edited by Sherril Dodds, 306–330. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
McMains, Juliet. “Queer Tango Space: Minority Stress, Sexual Potentiality, and Gender Utopias.” TDR: The Drama Review 62, no. 2 (2018): 59–77. DOI: 10.1162/DRAM_a_00748
McMains, Juliet. “Palladium.” Encyclopedia entry for Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. New York: Routledge, 2017. https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/palladium
McMains, Juliet. “Rumba/Rhumba.” Encyclopedia entry for Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. New York: Routledge, 2017. https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/rumba
McMains, Juliet. “Salsa Steps Toward Intercultural Education.” Journal of Dance Education 16, no. 1 (2016): 27–30. DOI: 10.1080/15290824.2015.1048865
McMains, Juliet. “Modern Ballroom Dancing.” Encyclopedia entry for Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. New York: Routledge, 2016. https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/modern-ballroom-dancing
McMains, Juliet. “Mambo.” Encyclopedia entry for Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. New York: Routledge, 2016. https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/mambo
McMains, Juliet. Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
McMains, Juliet. “Efectos problemáticos de la terminología ‘leader/follower.’” Translated by Olaya Aramo. The Queer Tango Project: Critical Ideas and Resources about Queer Tango, 2015.
McMains, Juliet. “McMains, Juliet. “Troubling Effects of Leader/Follower Terminology.” In The Queer Tango Book: Ideas, Images and Inspiration in the 21st Century, edited by Birthe Havmoeller, Ray Batchelor and Olaya Ara, 59–61, 2015.
McMains, Juliet. “Hot Latin Dance: Ethnic Identity and Stereotype.” In Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity, edited by Anthony Shay and Barbara-Sellers Young, 480–500. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016 (online version 2013).
McMains, Juliet and Ben Thomas. “Translating from Pitch to Plié: Music Theory for Dance Scholars and Close Movement Analysis for Music Scholars.” Dance Chronicle, 36, no. 2 (2013): 196–217. DOI: 10.1080/01472526.2013.792714
McMains, Juliet. “Rumba Encounters: Transculturation of Cuban Rumba in American and European Ballrooms.” In Making Caribbean Dance: Continuity and Creativity in Island Cultures, edited by Susanna Sloat, 37–48. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2010.
McMains, Juliet. “Reality Check: Dancing with the Stars and the American Dream.” In The Routledge Dance Studies Reader, 2nd ed., edited by Alexandra Carter and Janet O’Shea, 261–272. London: Routledge, 2010.
McMains, Juliet. “Dancing Latin/Latin Dancing: Salsa and DanceSport” In Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader, edited by Julie Malnig, 302–322. Indianapolis: University of Illinois Press, 2008.
McMains, Juliet. Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2006.
McMains, Juliet and Danielle Robinson. “Swingin’ Out: Southern California's Lindy Revival, 2000.” In I See America Dancing: Selected Readings, 1685–2000, edited by Maureen Needham, 84–91. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2002.
McMains, Juliet. “Brownface: Representations of Latin-ness in Dancesport.” Dance Research Journal, 33, no. 2 (2001): 54–71. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1477804
Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Dance Industry
Exposes the “Glamour Machine” that drives the competitive ballroom dance (DanceSport) industry, delving into both the pleasures and perils of its seductions. Winner of 2008 Congress on Research in Dance Outstanding Publication Award.