A taste of honey: Choreographing mulatta in the hollywood dance film

Melissa Blanco Borelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article examines the filmic representations of the mulatta body in the films Sparkle (1976), Flashdance (1983) and Honey (2003). More specifically, this article seeks to unravel how the Hollywood filmic apparatus engages with signifiers of raced sexuality and hierarchies of dance styles to enforce and reify mythic narratives about dance, dancing raced bodies and dance-making. By establishing a genealogy of the mulatta body in a US context through dance and/or performance films, these juxtapositions illustrate how the mulatta subject develops from a tragic figure (in Sparkle) to an independent and self-reliant one (in Honey). Critical dance studies provide the analytical framework by allowing a focus on particular choreographed and ‘improvised’ dance sequences performed by each film’s respective mulatta protagonist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Mulatta body raced sexuality Hollywood film racialized hips hybridized movement/ choreograph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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