Theatre & Dance ETDs

Publication Date



Identidad and Mejicanidad examines cultural identity and dance through the lens of 'owners,' 'borrowers,' and 'renters'. I examine how non-professional participants of these dance forms are beacons for cultural expression and serve to explore the fringe of the sense of cultural knowing through Mexican Folklórico, Azteca, and Flamenco dance. Through these dance forms I interrogate how cultural identity frames questions of authenticity and identity. Ownership of cultural identity and issues of authenticity are a source of ire for many underrepresented groups of people. Maintaining who is 'in control' of a cultural expressions' evolution is a common dispute. The legacy of colonization brought many owners, borrowers, and renters as practitioners of identity. These practitioners then become representative of the perceived fluid Mejicano identity, not only by outsiders, but by Mejicanos as well. Looking at the sum of the cultural dance parts of what is a Mejicano--Folklórico, Azteca, and Flamenco--creates an incomplete definition of what is a Mejicano. Mejicano cultural identity is deeper than the sum of its parts; it is an exponential growth that leads to a new hybrid of Mejicano identity. I argue this growth takes the owners, borrowers, and renters and places them at the head of identity evolution. The depth of influence that dance has on identity is comparable to how much consumers of culture think dance is relevant to our personal experiences. The integration of dance and its source material plays an insidious role on cultural development. The introduction of widely accepted cultural icons introduced by innocuous pop culture begins the formation of the adoption of cultural identity. This adoption presents the delineation of active 'borrowing' or how cultural identity is awarded to us by birthright. In turn the award of this birthright represents an 'ownership'. The 'ownership' given by birthright is how we come to 'own' cultural identity.

Degree Name

Theatre & Dance

Level of Degree


Department Name

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Herrera, Brian Eugenio

First Committee Member (Chair)

Encinias-Sandoval, Eva

Second Committee Member

Predock-Linell, Jennifer

Third Committee Member





Dance--Mexico--Social aspects, Folk dancing, Mexican--Social aspects, Group identity--Mexico

Document Type