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How an understanding of salsa dancing enhances our appreciation of salsa's global reach and meanings

Salsa World

A Global Dance in Local Contexts

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edited by Sydney Hutchinson

Since its emergence in the 1960s, salsa has transformed from a symbol of Nuyorican pride into an emblem of pan-Latinism and finally a form of global popular culture. While Latinos all over the world have developed and even exported their own “dance accents,” local dance scenes have arisen in increasingly far-flung locations, each with its own flavor and unique features.

Salsa World examines the ways in which bodies relate to culture in specific places. The contributors, a notable group of scholars and practitioners, analyze dance practices in the U.S., Japan, Spain, France, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Writing from the disciplines of ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology, and performance studies, the contributors explore salsa’s kinetopias—places defined by movement, or vice versa—as they have arisen through the dance’s interaction with local histories, identities, and musical forms.

Taken together, the essays in this book examine contemporary salsa dancing in all its complexity, taking special note of how it is localized and how issues of geography, race and ethnicity, and identity interact with the global salsa industry.

Contributors include Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez, Katherine Borland, Joanna Bosse, Rossy Díaz, Saúl Escalona, Kengo Iwanaga, Isabel Llano, Jonathan S. Marion, Priscilla Renta, Alejandro Ulloa Sanmiguel, and the editor.

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Excerpt

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"Salsa World is one of the best books I know on the culture-making character of body movements and interactions, and it will be of great value to any reader interested in the social dimensions of popular dance forms. Hutchinson and her contributors illuminate the complex sociogeographical context of salsa, making a valuable contribution to studies on the relationship between dance, music, community, and social identity."
Ángel G. Quintero-Rivera Professor in the Centro de Investigaciones Sociales of the Universidad de Puerto Rico and author of Salsa, sabor y control: Sociología de la música tropical and Cuerpo y cultura: Las músicas “mulatas” y la subversión del baile

"Salsa World is a most welcome addition to the literature on salsa. Until now, no book in English has dealt specifically with salsa as a dance practice. The strengths of Hutchinson’s volume are in the breadth of the areas covered and the geographic diversity of the case studies. Only through this type of multisited study can we begin to fully understand the implications of globalization, and the focus on dance rather than music fills a lacuna in salsa scholarship."
Christopher Washburne Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University and author of Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York City (Temple)

"Hutchinson and international scholars and practitioners examine the salsa dance experience in parts of the world ranging from Colombia, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic to the United States, Japan, and Spain.... Besides locale, authors also vary in subject background (ethnomusicology, anthropology, performance studies, etc.). Hutchinson has translated many of these articles, and the variety of perspectives provides an intriguing approach to the subject.... VERDICT Useful for students interested in cross-cultural study and issues of dance, place, and identity."
Library Journal

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Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Dancing in Place: An Introduction • Sydney Hutchinson
2. What’s in a Number? From Local Nostalgia to Global Marketability in New York’s On-2 Salsa • Sydney Hutchinson
3. From Hip-Hop and Hustle to Mambo and Salsa: New Jersey’s Eclectic Salsa Dance Revival • Katherine Borland
4. Contextualizing Content and Conduct in the L.A. Salsa Scene • Jonathan S. Marion
5. Small-Town Cosmopolitans: Salsa Dance in Rural America • Joanna Bosse
6. Dancing Salsa in Cuba: Another Look • Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez (Translated by Sydney Hutchinson)
7. The Global Commercialization of Salsa Dancing and Sabor (Puerto Rico) • Priscilla Renta
8. I dentity Is Also Danced (Cali, Colombia) • Alejandro Ulloa Sanmiguel (Translated by Sydney Hutchinson)
9. Dancing Salsa in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A First Look • Rossy Díaz (Translated by Sydney Hutchinson)
10. Allons à la Fête—On Danse Salsa: New Routes for Salsa in France • Saúl Escalona (Translated by Sydney Hutchinson)
11. Salsa in Barcelona and Spain • Isabel Llano (Translated by Sydney Hutchinson)
12. Diffusion and Change in Salsa Dance Styles in Japan • Kengo Iwanaga
Contributors
Index

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About the Author(s)

Sydney Hutchinson is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University.

Subject Categories

Music and Dance
Latin American/Caribbean Studies


In the series

Studies in Latin American and Caribbean Music, edited by Peter Manuel.

Studies in Latin American and Caribbean Music, edited by Peter Manuel, aims to present interdisciplinary studies in the traditional and contemporary musics of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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