Talk: Hacer de Tripas Corazón (Making Heart Out of Guts): Rasquache Dance Techniques as a Methodology for Brown Belonging by Irvin Manuel Gonzalez

This presentation 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 Chicano communities to repurpose the intended use value of materials, Gonzalez examines how quebradita dancing teaches participants to strategically hybridize aesthetics in order to enact social change. Gonzalez contends that rasquache pedagogy is an affectively embodied lesson of and for brown belonging, and that working-class peoples engage to cope with the instability of life across the US-Mexico border while constructing brownness in the face of white supremacy. In doing so, he highlights how quebradita dancers employ unique tools relevant to understanding new forms of dance pedagogy in times of crisis.

About the Speaker

Irvin Manuel Gonzalez (he/him/his) is an activist, scholar, and teacher. He received his PhD from the University of California, Riverside and teaches as an Assistant Professor at Florida State University. Gonzalez’s scholarship analyzes the constructs of brownness, queerness, and mexicanidad(es) within social dancing, looking at how immigrant, queer, and working-class dancers navigate trans/national politics through feeling and creativity. Particularly, he examines how Mexican/Mexican American quebradita dancers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, embody affective affiliations to forge belonging as strategy. In doing so, Gonzalez theorizes the body as a communally-attached archive of movement that brown dancers use to resist xenophobia, homophobia, and the instability of neoliberal economies. He is a founding member of Primera Generación Dance Collective (PGDC) and a board member for Show Box Los Angeles (SBLA) and the Dance Studies Association (DSA).

As a dance artist, Gonzalez grounds his art approaches, strategies, and constructions in rasquachismo, a low-brow Chicanx methodology, to generate collaborations and new potentials. He revels in rasquachismo’s “low brow” aesthetics and sensibilities to redefine the intended use-value of materials, connections, and being. In doing so, he seeks to dismantle notions of the “solo artist” based on white supremacy by highlighting how minoritized bodies are always already ancestrally-connected and linked to one another through emotions, experiences, and ways of resisting. Gonzalez investigates these ideas within his collaborative group, PGDC, where he works alongside brown creators and family to define ‘mexicanidades’ as a communal formation and to highlight the complexities of brown joy and loss in the United States.

He has had the honor of presenting work at the Society of Dance History Scholars Conference in 2013 (Riverside), Redcat (LA), HIGHWAYS Performance Space (LA), Kennedy Center for the Arts (DC), Bootleg Theater (LA), Dance Mission Theater (SF), Human Resources (LA) and most recently at Judson Church for Movement Research (NYC). In 2016 he was awarded DANCE Magazine’s award “Outstanding Choreography” for his collaborative role in “fourtold” and in 2020 was an artist-in-residence at “we live in space” and Pieter Performance Space in LA. In 2021, Gonzalez’s collective, PGDC, received the National Endowment for the Arts Grant to produce “Chale Vale!” a dance piece used to highlight history of Pachuco/a/x in Los Angeles, CA.

Lectureship supported by the Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art Fund/College of Fine & Applied Arts.


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All participants are welcome. To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.