“Rhythm and Revolution” at Harvard’s ALARI Conference

Victoria Santa Cruz broke new ground for Afro-Peruvian women when Peru’s Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces appointed her as founding director of the nation’s first National Folklore Ensemble in 1973. In this important position, Santa Cruz advanced her distinctive, Gramsci-influenced vision of folklore as an agent of individual and social connection and transformation, guided by rhythm. On December 9, 2022, I presented the talk “Rhythm and Revolution: Victoria Santa Cruz and the National Folklore Ensemble of Peru, 1973–1982” at the Second Continental Conference of Harvard University’s ALARI (Afro-Latin American Research Institute). I shared the floor with Denise Barata, Roberto Augusto A. Pereira, and Nicolás Aguía Betancourt in a panel dedicated to folklore, dance, theatre, music, and Black agency in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.