I conducted an ethnography on the popular culture of Sonidero dances in Mexico City during the Summer of 2015. I learned that Sonidero is a 40-year-old tradition of street parties where people from marginalized communities gather to dance and play bombastic Cumbias from deluxe sound systems. Sonidero parties happen in the street, in dance halls, under highways, in parks, under tents, and in the rain. I traversed the metropolis of Mexico City looking for parties to attend in the Sonidero scene, and met generous groups of intergenerational and LGBTQ dancers who dedicate their skill and life to the Sonidero lifestyle. One of these parties in particular took place in a men’s jail and the experience magnified the importance of this dance scene in the Mexican cultural fabric; it called upon the human spirit to rejoice in the most difficult of places. My summer was documented by travel logs and field notes which were great part of my first evening length work, Originators. From this rigorous and passionate research, I take away a populous way of making work, where a cosmogram of marginality, class, and life is dependent on the collective experience to physically and spiritually lift each other up.
This research was made possible by the Travel and Study Grant of the Jerome Foundation.