Salsa is danced latinidad. Over the last two decades salsa has surged across
borders of nation, race, and class and has become the dance through which
Latinas/os are identified on a global scale. Although cumbia, merengue, and
tango have also crossed borders, none of these genres has achieved the same mas-
sive presence that salsa has in Los Angeles and around the world. No other pop-
ular dance associated with latinidad has been so relentlessly commodified and
packaged as a “crossover” genre to the extent that salsa has. Salsa has “crossed
over” to upper- and middle-class populations of Latinas/os and non-Latinas/os
not because the form offers an essential appeal but because of the political, social,
cultural, and economic value ascribed to the moves.
I have dwelt upon the movement practices in salsa clubs in order to under-
stand latinidad as a social choreography that intertwines with power. Much of the
material in this book has focused on the moods, judgments, alliances, percep-
tions, and hierarchy formation between bodies. Through choreographic ethnog-
raphy, a methodological collaboration between choreographic and ethnographic
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