ally correct in its representation; sometimes a dance may lack veracity and end up either misrepresenting or marginalizing cultural assumptions construed within or without its motions. This paper will focus on representation vs. misrepresentation of cultural identities through the two videos analyzed. For them to be effective, they must be searched for authenticity which can be identified through the fact that they portray realistic and historically valid view points and they are successful in delivering their message and creating the impression they were intended to. While conceding that a dance in many cases serves to center the focus on a specific culture or cultural outlook on stage, it can also be conversely used to marginalize. The world of contemporary and even ex post facto performances has been characterized by stereotypes most concerning racial identities and perceptions. In many cases, this has resulted in either marginalizing or misrepresenting cultural outlooks and in this paper, the extent to which the two dances cited either represent or misrepresent cultural issues or fail to do so will be examined.
The west side captures the gang conflict that characterizes America in the 50’s with white Caucasian gangs fighting with their Puerto Rican counterparts supposedly for dominance in the streets. The dance was initially brought to the stage by writers and producers whose intent was to recreate a modern day Romeo and Juliet story. Their key focus was the prejudices that faced ethical, racial and religious groups in the United States during this period. While in the case of Romeo and Juliet, it was the Montagues vs. the Capulets, on the other hand, in the West side story, it was the two leading gangs in New York, Sharks vs. Jets. These were representative of the middle class New York population vs. the influx of Puerto Rican and Mexican families that were taking a hold in what was traditionally “white turf”(Cohen). Throughout the story, racial and