“Thorough and informative, this impressive study offers original research and new insights into how the many pieces of a much larger story of the culture and arts of postrevolutionary Mexico all fit together.”—Tatiana Flores, author of Mexico’s Revolutionary Avant-Gardes: From Estridentismo to ¡30-30! A Revolution in Movement is the first book to illuminate how collaborations between dancers and painters shaped Mexico’s postrevolutionary cultural identity. K. Mitchell Snow traces this relationship throughout nearly half a century of developments in Mexican dance—the emulation of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the 1920s, the adoption of U.S.-style modern dance in the 1940s, and the creation of ballet-inspired folk dance in the 1960s.
Snow describes the appearances in Mexico by Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and Spanish concert dancer Tortóla Valencia, who helped motivated Mexico to express its own national identity through dance. He discusses the work of muralists and other visual artists in tandem with Mexico’s theatrical dance world, including Diego Rivera’s collaborations with ballet composer Carlos Chávez; Carlos Merida’s leadership of the National School of Dance; José Clemente Orozco’s involvement in the creation of the Ballet de la Ciudad de México; and Miguel Covarrubias, who led the “golden age” of Mexican modern dance. Snow draws from a rich trove of historical newspaper accounts and other contemporary documents to show how these collaborations produced an image of modern Mexico that would prove popular both locally and internationally and continues to endure today. K. Mitchell Snow, an independent scholar and arts writer based in Washington, D.C., is the author of Movimiento, ritmo y música: Una biografía de Gloria Contreras.