Latinx Performance in the 21st Century
This essay examines quebradita dancing, a Mexican/Mexican American social dance form first cultivated during the 1990s through transborder exchanges, as a tool for the development of rasquache pedagogy. Engaging Chicano Studies scholar Tomás Ybarra-Frausto’s definition of rasquachismo as a DIY, underdog sensibility employed by Chicanx communities to repurpose the intended use value of materials, I examine how quebradita dancing teaches participants to strategically hybridize aesthetics in order to reshape the world around them. I contend that rasquache pedagogy is an affectively embodied lesson of/for belonging that Brown, working-class peoples engage to cope with the instability of the US-Mexico border and times of crisis. Moreover, I examine how these creative strategies are utilized by bodies to reclaim subjectivity during moments that national il/legalities dehumanize their existence and connections. In doing so, I consider how my own interaction with and embodiment of quebradita dancing provided me the tools to shape my Mexican American identity as well as my approaches to teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.