1930s: The Techno-Body

  • Ellie Guerrero


During the Great Depression, the U.S. deported hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers. At the same time, Americans laid out the red carpet for the crème de la crème of Mexican artists, setting the stage for confusion between neighbors. This chapter examines the ballet H.P. (Horsepower) that composer Carlos Chávez and muralist Diego Rivera created for a Philadelphia audience in 1932. The piece aimed to represent U.S. industry working together harmoniously with the natural resources of Mexico. Rivera’s design for the principal dancer H.P. melded an ancient deer dance of the south with the modern machinery of the north. However, the story seemed to also subtly critique Pan-Americanism; misunderstandings arose between the Mexican creators, the conductor Leopold Stokowski, and the U.S. press and public.


Horsepower (H.P.) Mexican Art Stokowski audienceAudience workersWorkers 
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  1. Saavedra, Leonora, ed. Carlos Chávez and His World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellie Guerrero
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SpanishBucknell UniversityLewisburgUSA

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