Zoot Suits and Zapateado

Zapateado KQED Arts

San Francisco's La Mezcla dance company, founded and led by Vanessa Sanchez, uses dance and song to tell stories of Chicana history, culture and resistance.

Blending tap dance and son jarocho zapateado (traditional footwork from Veracruz, Mexico,) Sanchez describes this unique dance style as “zapatap.” In this episode of the award-winning If Cities Could Dance series, watch these dancers perform dynamic choreography in front of iconic Mission District murals and landmarks, then bring us back to the 1940s West Coast Zoot Suit era (popularized by Bay Area playwright Luis Valdez) when young Mexican-American men and women, “pachucos” and “pachucas,” proudly repped their identity, while defying cultural and style taboos. Rocking big hair and flashy zoot suits, the women of La Mezcla reclaim this early California history.

Program Info

Director: Kelly Whalen

Choreographer: Vanessa Sanchez, La Mezcla Dance Company

(United States, 2020) 6:00

Genre:Documentary, Short

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