I completed my Spanish minor capstone by analyzing how social and competitive partner dancing reflect heteronormativity through the examples of salsa and mambo. I drew on my own experiences with ballroom dance, as well as the experiences of salsa dancers in literature. I found that differences in technique between salsa and mambo are related to different perspectives on gender performance; rather, the differences in technique just result in different performances of the same heteronormativity. In salsa, the difference in gender performance can be seen through the exaggeration of women's hip movement, and the contrasting lack of hip action in male dancers. In mambo, the technique and style dictate the hip action of both men and women, so the gendered performance reveals itself in exaggerated stylizations from both partners. There is also a difference between heteronormativity in social and competitive dancing: social dancing is more natural in its expression, because it is conflated (oftentimes intentionally) with courtship. Meanwhile, competitive dancing is a team activity with the goal of attracting the attention of judges and audience members, making it more dramatic. The full text in Spanish can be found below.
In October of 2022, I created the following piece of artwork, Cicatrices en la tierra, for my Ecocritism class. I created political maps of Latin America shaded to represent the plants, mammals, birds, fish, insects, and reptiles that are vulnerable, in danger, and in critical danger in each country (plus Puerto Rico). I found the number of species in each of the 18 categories using the IUCN Red List. Using the total number of spcies in those categories in the world, as well as the land areas of each Latin American country and the total land area on Earth, I found the comparative density of each category (for example, Puerto Rico contains 1087 times more endangered bird species than the average Puerto Rico sized piece of land). I converted these comparative densities to percents to color each region with an HSL value. I assigned outliers a value of 0 (black) and linearized all other values within their corresponding categories, with values less than two standard deviations away from the median receiving a value between 25 and 100. The large wood slices represent the four biggest causes for endangered biodiversity in Latin America: Fishing, agricultural expansion, extraction of oil, and urbanization. Each wood slice was laser engraved at 100% power and 100% speed. For more details on my methods, my report, in Spanish, and my Excel worksheet are attached below