In this project, we will use the lucha libre metaphor to find ways of tackling social problems (the rudos of the project) that are prevalent both in Latin America and in our own community. Just as lucha libre can empower its audience, the goal is to empower students through this project as they find ways in which they can work to combat issues that they identify as problematic.
Lucha libre, which literally means free struggle/combat, is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in Mexico, providing its audience with such icons as El Santo Enmascarado and Mil Máscaras. Lucha libre combines sport with melodrama, ultimately appearing as a metaphor for the perennial struggle of good vs. evil. The técnicos (“the good guys” of lucha), with their gravity-defying kicks and skilled acrobatics, maneuver the ring in their attempt to overcome the power of the rudos (“the bad guys”), who constantly taunt them and present equally-impressive moves and technique. In the eyes of the popular masses, who serve as lucha libre’s main audience, this can easily translate into the struggle they face at the hands of more powerful (and oftentimes oppressive) forces. Lucha libre allows them to project that struggle onto the ring and similarly relish in the técnicos’ victory. In this project, we will use the lucha libre metaphor to find ways of tackling social problems (the rudos of the project) that are prevalent both in Latin America and in our own community. Just as lucha libre can empower its audience, the goal is to empower students through this project as they find ways in which they can work to combat issues that they identify as problematic.
I loved the fact that by the end of the project, almost all students identified with the luchador after having infused him/her with their own qualities. It was also great to see students invest themselves into finding viable solutions to the social issues/problems they had chosen to combat. The lucha libre ring itself looked amazing, but I would definitely want to find a way of making the students’ luchadores come to life on the ring itself. It worked as an art display, but I feel that the idea of combating social issues was lost because there was no action present in the exhibition itself.
With regards to the project logistics, I would have made the lucha libre poster (cartel) an additional challenge component rather than a required piece. I saw several students rush through their story and the creation of their art piece because they needed to complete the cartel. A lot of students that were not as familiar with the software being used faced issues that I had not anticipated and that, thus, I did not account for when forming the project outline. If I were to keep the cartel as a requirement, I would definitely anticipate spending at least another week on the project in order to insure that all students have the opportunity to produce beautiful work.
- An art piece that shows each student’s luchador alter-ego in his/her environment.
- A 1-page fictionalized 1st person account in Spanish of the life of the luchador. This account should explain how the luchador came to combat the chosen social problem and what special qualities and abilities he/she possesses that help him/her combat that issue.
- A lucha libre poster announcing the lucha match between the luchador and his/her chosen social problem.
- A class-created ring or cuadrilátero used to display the art pieces.
- (Optional per class): A class-created representation of social problems in the center of the ring
- Students will use regular, irregular and stem-changing verbs in Spanish in the present, preterite and imperfect tenses to construct a story.
- Students will use the basic future tense in Spanish.
- Students will identify and explore causes of prevalent social problems in our community and in Latin America.
- Students analyze how lucha libre can be seen as a metaphor for basic dichotomies like good vs. evil.
1. Storytelling in Spanish using PRESENT, PRETERITE and IMPERFECT tenses
2. Current social issues in Spanish-speaking countries and our immediate community
3. Lucha Libre as an example of current popular culture in Latin America (Mexico in particular)
For written piece:
- Access to Internet to research social issue
- Card stock (to mount final drafts for display)
For Lucha Cartel (poster)
- Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (or Open Source versions of these programs)
For art piece:
- 9 x 12 inch canvases (1 per student)
- Acryllic paint and brushes
For Lucha Libre ring:
- 20 x 20 ft. canvas
- Black paint (for canvas)
- 200 ft. of rope
- Oil pastels (to write social problems on canvas)
- Black PVC pipe for ring posts
What is a social problem? What social problem would you like to see disappear?
Introduction to project
What is lucha libre?
Reading: Bilingual story about El Santo (iconic luchador)
Grammar: Introduction to conjugation in the preterite tense
Sketch of luchador alter-ego
Luchador basic profile
Vocabulary: Comida, dieta y ejercicio
Grammar: Stem-changing verbs in the preterite tense
Color sketch of luchador alter-ego
Review of two sources that highlight chosen social problem
Draft 1 of fictionalized account
Grammar: Irregular verbs in the preterite tense
Draft 2 of fictionalized account
Sketch of poster
Grammar: Imperfect tense
Draft 3 of fictionalized account
Color sketch of poster
Grammar: Future tense
Art piece creation begins
Creation of poster begins (Using Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator)
Final draft of fictionalized account
Ring constructed in classroom
Art piece completed and mounted along ring
Poster completed and ready to be projected (3 from each class will be chosen to be printed)
Optional component: Representation of social problems in center of ring
Clean-up after exhibition night
Displayed luchador art pieces during Festival del Sol
Students´ art pieces depict their luchador alter egos and the social issues that they intend to combat.
The floor of the Lucha Libre ring was covered with the social issues that students had chosen to combat. The luchadores were displayed around the ring, ready to enter it and fight against the social problems written in the ring.