Review Of "Dance And The Hollywood Latina: Race, Sex, And Stardom" By P. P. Ovalle

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This is Ovalle's first book, and in it she effectively applies a cross-disciplinary approach to develop her premise that Latina performers in Hollywood have mediated complex racial and sexual ideologies through their employment of dance. Focusing on the careers of five Latina stars--Dolores Del Rio, Carmen Miranda, Rita Hayworth, Rita Moreno, and Jennifer Lopez--and spanning the period from the 1920s through 2000s, Ovalle (film and media studies, Univ. of Oregon) investigates ways that various national, racial, and gender "myths" developed as a result of the roles each of these women inhabited on-screen. The author devotes one chapter to each woman's career. Using archival materials and textual analysis, she demonstrates how images shift over time and also reveal some retention of stereotypes. Moreno and Lopez were able to push beyond previous limits in the new global media marketplace. Ovalle introduces notions of "inbetween-ness" and "racial mobility," both of which she employs to confirm ways these women expanded their agency through their dancing. Including helpful notes and an excellent bibliography, this book should be a good resource for those interested in dance, film, and media studies and in gender, race, and sexuality studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and above.


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