Photo taken from a Zumba cruise

Fun, Fitness, Fiesta: Constructing Latinness in Zumba Fitness

A Knapp/Newhouse at Home Presentation by Petra Rivera-Rideau
Nov 19, 2020, 4–5:15 PM
Open to the Wellesley College campus community only

Fun, Fitness, Fiesta shows how Zumba Fitness brand centers a “Latinness” that draws from and informs a wider set of values and assumptions about Latinx people and cultures in the United States. More specifically, Zumba Fitness promotes a tropicalized Latinness that reinforces stereotypes of the exotic, foreign, Latin other. Fun, Fitness, Fiesta demonstrates how Zumba’s tropicalized Latinness reproduces racist stereotypes of Latinx populations, contradicting the company’s message about cultural tolerance and acceptance. I use an interdisciplinary approach that combines different sources including media coverage of Zumba, advertisements, products and videos produced by Zumba, and interviews that I conducted with Zumba instructors. Taken together, these sources tell a complex story about how Zumba represents and disseminates ideas about “Latin culture,” and how these representations are interpreted on the ground. I argue that it is critical to unpack the lessons, images, and ideas about Latinx cultures that circulate in the Zumba universe. Doing so unearths much deeper and entrenched understandings of the relationship between race, belonging, citizenship, and Latinidad.

This event will is open to all members of the Wellesley College community. Pre-registration is required. Please click here to sign up.