New Publication about Victoria Santa Cruz in Theatre Survey Journal

I am happy to announce my recently published article in the journal Theatre Survey (Volume 61, Issue 2, May 2020, pp. 203–230):

“Staging Public Blackness in Mid-Twentieth-Century Peru: The Repertoires of Pancho Fierro and Cumanana” by Heidi Carolyn Feldman


Extract:  In 1951, Victoria (1922–2014) and Nicomedes Santa Cruz (1925–92) attended a performance at Lima’s Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theatre) by the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. Dunham (1909–2006), an African American choreographer and anthropologist, pioneered a “research-to-performance” method to study African-derived dances in the Caribbean and stage them in stylized choreographies. Elite Lima patrons walked out of the theatre during the danced African fertility rite in Dunham’s “Rites de Passage,” but the performance left a lasting impression on the Santa Cruzes. Nicomedes Santa Cruz later described the event as the first positive staged demonstration of blackness in Peru—and Victoria Santa Cruz stated that, when they saw Katherine Dunham’s production, they knew they had to do something similar. The Santa Cruzes went on to lead a revival of Afro-Peruvian arts in the 1960s and 1970s.

This article appears for the first time in English with permission of the Fondo Editorial de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. An earlier version was originally published in Spanish as “Escenificando la negritud en la Lima de mediados del siglo XX: Las compañías Pancho Fierro y Cumanana,” trans. Adriana Soldi, in Lima siglo XX: Cultura, socialización, y cambio, ed. Carlos Aguirre and Aldo Panfichi (Lima: Fondo Editorial de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2013), 199–234. Some material was previously published in my book Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2006).