In Hispanic countries, like Colombia, dancing Latino music, salsa and merengue, is a popular and frequent practice. It is a tradition that is passed through generations. In this practice gender roles are clearly defined: woman follows the man and the man is the one who asks the woman to dance. Because of this females without a partner often will not dance in public.
The formal meaning of the word “machera” is a cork tree’s nursery and it has a relationship with the word “macho”. In the dictionary of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española, “machera” means “Criadero de alcornoques”. “Alcornoque” is a cork tree, but it is also a word that informally means “idiot. Therefore, other possible translations of “machera” could be “nursery of idiots.” It is also used as an informal Spanish word in Colombia meaning something that is very good. In American English “machera” could mean: cool, awesome or great. This word has a connotation related to gender roles. The fact that “machera” is related to macho, cool but also idiot, it is an ambiguity that I want to question. Thinking of the roles that genders play in dancing and in society; Who are the cool ones? Who are the “macho” ones? and Who are the idiots? Maybe both. In this performance, body language works as an identifier and is a reflection of women’s desire. A desire governed by structures and traditions that mark gender roles.