Dancing with Life
168 pages, 9 1/2 x 11
photographs throughout
Release Date:21 Feb 2023

Dancing with Life

Recontextualizing Mexican Masks

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

Rebalancing and reframing how Mexican folk dances and masks have historically been depicted, Dancing with Life takes a collaborative and participatory approach to center the voices of artists, dancers, and other community members involved in sculpting masks and performing the danzas. This book aims to address the imbalance in how Mexican danzas are routinely portrayed and discuss how contemporary Mexican culture and issues are incorporated into the styling and uses of the masks. While commercialization is commonly viewed as a threat to the masking customs, this book also describes the impacts of other, more urgent threats, such as land enclosures, environmental degradation, and industrial agriculture. Dancing with Life includes contributions from scholars who are members of the Purepecha Indigenous communities and interviews with artists presented in both English and Spanish to preserve the original voices of these creators. Stunning new photography shows these artists in their own studios and highlights the beauty and variety of the masks themselves.

Pavel Shlossberg is an associate professor and department chair in the master’s program in Communication and Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.

Mintzi Martínez-Rivera is an assistant professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Providence College.

Gabriela Spears-Rico is an assistant professor of Chicano Latino Studies with a joint appointment in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Luis Urrieta is the Adams Endowed Professor in Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Professor at the Center for Mexican American Studies at the College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin.

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