Methologies III: Interpreting Performance

 

Interpreting Performance

 

Last night, urged by the promise of an academic grade and a chance to practice real-time ethnographic research, I attended the Williams’ Campaign Ultra Lounge event. Held in the hub of student life, there in Paresky Center a mixture of students, professors, alumni and their children gathered for free food, gifts, and a host of other side attractions with the main one being the Williams College Jazz Band… or at least that was my perception.

 

I arrived at the event around 7:40 PM, wanting to get a chance to set up, take in my surroundings, and to eat since the event was slated to start at 8:30. I walked into Paresky Center entering Baxter Hall expecting the dimmed lights, hors-d’oeuvres, and décor suitable for an evening event, as the poster advertised.

unnamed

Instead I walked into a perfunctory mish-mash of haphazard signs, some misspelled, luxurious appetizer tables, scantily decorated standing tables, and a solitary stage dotted with instruments and three purple columns too add some sense of flair (that admittedly it didn’t do much) to the setup. As the outdoor activities drew to a close, numerous bodies poured inside the center searching for warmth. The confused and excited crowd seemed more concerned with the heady spread of fall themed ‘deserts’ than the impending performance.

 

Anxious to begin our observation and participate in the night’s festivities that included a photo booth and caricature drawings, my classmates and I decided to staunch the pain of the wait with apple crumble in a cup, hot cider, chicken wings, and random note taking. This bought us maybe 15 minutes until we noticed it was 8:36 and not a movement was made toward the stage. The lights were on at full power and errant conversations about celebrities and people exchanging pleasantries surrounded me. Hurried students tried to hunt down the source of the ‘free gift’ (a portable phone charger adorned with the Campaign motto: “Teach It Forward”) a lucky 250 people would get for attending the event. The occasional parent-child duo milled around unsure of the ‘next big surprise’ the Campaign had in store for them.

 

Everything about this atmosphere read as if people could care less about the band and it’s apparent tardiness except for my classmates and I. So what did we do? Took more notes. The ferocity of our note taking interested many the passer by. “What are you guys writing? Is that, like, homework?” “What’s this little writing circle you guys have going on?” And the plain, almost aggressive “What is that?” were the questions our peers and alumni had for us. At first I responded saying that this “was a part of our Africana studies senior seminar class, and [that] we’re currently studying performance ethnography. We’re supposed to be taking notes on the jazz performance.” And with that people either joked about their apparent absence or left us alone, satisfied with the answer; but as the night wore on I got lazier and lazier and wound up saying, “Yeah this is homework for class” with a what-can-you-do face. In hindsight stationing ourselves in the back of the hall at standing table in the center wasn’t the brightest idea. We made a quasi-spectacle of ourselves in the absence of the band.

 

After these visits we realized this on some level and stopped taking notes. Partially tired of writing and tired of waiting, we took a break. My two classmates and I turned to the childhood game of *M*A*S*H*, to pass the time. It would be an understatement to say that this wait hardly put us in the mood to watch a performance. Even the crowd grew weary of waiting and petered out to a mere 70 some odd people still floating around. Fast-forward a whopping 30 minutes later, members of the band saunter onto stage and eek out a couple notes. I shook my head in disbelief at my cellphone screen that read 9:50 PM. The band seemed just as tired as I felt. Their movements oozed nonchalance as they slowly tested out the sound of their instruments. A blare of a horn here, a lazy sax note there, and timid keying of a piano made up the first sounds of the Williams Jazz Ensemble. Eventually they found it in themselves to play “Play That Funky Music”.

 

Being the first number of the show, the performance was still getting its legs. The musicians peered over at each other trying to match nonverbal cues with the rise and falls of the song. After a time the band seemed to ‘gel’ with one another. The base and the drums created an infallible foundation on which the horns, the saxophone, and the piano keys not only stood but also weaved in and out of one another. The band seemed to actually like what they were playing. For a moment it didn’t seem obvious to the meager audience that they were contractually obligated to be here.

 

However the true magic happened when another student provided vocals to the instrumental. At first it was unclear as to if he was a part of the ensemble. He sat down on the edge of the stage for about 20 minutes of the performance, and all the sudden he started vocalizing. Low and timid at first the voice seemed lost in the muddle of music, but as the song progressed so did the voice. With a bowed head and singular concentration the vocalist made his words stronger, clearer, filled with intent. It seemed as though the others felt this intention; the saxophone player especially. He not only swayed fervently to the singer’s words but he replied to them. The rest of the band lived within the pocket of music the two created. Though the crowd had dwindled to nil, the band played their best number. Two spectators even got up to dance to the smooth sound. In that juicy moment what happened could be described by Dwight Conquergood’s principal of dialogical performance:

This performative stance struggles to bring together different voices, world

views, value systems, and beliefs so that hey can have a conversation with

one another. The aim of dialogical performance is to bring the self and the

other so that they can question, debate, and challenge one another (Conquergood, 9).

The musicians heard each other’s ideas and expounded on them, responded. The people in the crowd saw this exchange of ideas and internalized them into their bodies. Though these ideas I am speaking of are purely abstract it doesn’t change the act of dialogue. Live music and dance is always a conversation, whether it is one-sided is up to the performers themselves. In this moment such an exchange was present. In this moment this was a good performance. However that crumbled quickly.

 

After becoming hyper aware of the fact they were playing to a mostly empty room, the musicians let the atmosphere die. They let this dialogue “dissolve [back] into the performer”, killing the beauty they had just created. They once again sounded as if they were in someone’s garage practicing for the hell of it, but not in a good way. The band seemed detached from the room, enveloped in themselves no longer reaching out for some sort of interaction with their intimate audience.

 

All this is to say that this was a lukewarm performance with little shining moments. Aside from two numbers, the jazz band seemed uninterested in their material and the space. The novelty of a heartfelt vocalist gave the performance the wings it needed, but just as quickly they came they left. The Williams Jazz Ensemble lacked connection, which made this event a venture I kind of regretted attending.

Tags: ,

9,429 Responses to “Methologies III: Interpreting Performance”

  1. Hands down, ‘Best Online Class Takers’ is the ultimate solution for academic excellence. Their dedicated team of experts goes above and beyond to ensure your success in every course. With their personalized approach and flexible scheduling, they make conquering online classes a breeze. Trustworthy, reliable, and efficient – they are truly the best in the business. Say goodbye to academic stress and hello to top grades with ‘Best Online Class Takers’ by your side. Don’t settle for less when it comes to your education – enroll with them today and experience the difference firsthand!

  2. 春天藥房 says:

    男性性生活時間短 | 陽痿 |早洩 |尺寸短小|陰囊潮濕|前列腺炎|中途疲軟| 勃起不堅|勃起慢|勃起困難|晨勃少 | 手淫頻繁 |腎虛腎虧|敏感易射精|春天藥局|https://sprman.com/
    購買瞭解更多正品資訊請登入台灣春天藥局唯一官網線上網路商城臺灣總代理,或直接點擊網路連接登入網站(https://sprman.com/)或加在線客服藥師的  LINE:sprman19 歡迎隨時咨詢與訂購,24h竭誠為您服務,“愛挺久” 、春天有,壯陽補腎 、讓您有求必“硬”。

  3. xmarti says:

    The appearance efficiently excellent. Every one of these miniscule information and facts will be designed working with wide range of track record practical experience. I like it a lot. slot qris

  4. Engineers can successfully transition to rewarding careers as SDETs in the dynamic and fast-paced field of sdet manual testing. Stay resilient, keep learning, and watch your career soar in the dynamic world of software development.

  5. data hk says:

    Konten-konten di situs ini sungguh menarik dan praktis. Sumber daya yang sangat berharga

  6. Gifts in the form of boy hampers are thoughtfully assembled collections of practical and adorable things for newborn boys. These hampers can include things like toys, blankets, clothes, and toiletries for babies, all tastefully arranged to make a beautiful present.

    https://apkallpure.com/

  7. Pelle Pelle is a renowned fashion brand known for its stylish and high-quality Leather Jackets.
    Pellepelle jackets are synonymous with urban fashion, offering a blend of sophistication and street style
    that appeals to a diverse and fashion-forward audience.

    https://pelle-pelle.com/

  8. Fantastic insights! It’s impressive to see the depth of analysis in interpreting performance methodologies. Your exploration adds valuable perspectives to the discourse. Keep up the excellent work! Looking forward to more engaging discussions and insights. Keep pushing boundaries!

  9. After reading through some of your content, I think this website is quite educational! Continue posting.

    Regards, and best of luck with your work! Many thanks! https://apkallpure.com/

  10. lisahhh says:

    students’ understanding of a subject and their ability to express their thoughts in a structured and coherent manner. Essays can vary in length and format, and they often require research, analysis, and critical thinking.

  11. We focuses on all emulators and provide you their news, but our first priority is Suyu Emulator. Here I give you vast information like Suyu Update, News, Changelog, APK file and more.

  12. Thank you! I hope to hear more news from you.

  13. huaybee says:

    I am grateful for the depth of thought and research that went into your article

  14. PXGGAME says:

    pgslot deposit/withdrawal no minimum ⭐️ provides online betting services and products especially
    football betting with odds tables pgslot deposit/withdrawal no minimum – football odds – bookmaker odds.

  15. vexanshop says:

    Your articles offer profound insights and immense value. I’m inclined to bookmark your blog and revisit it regularly for updates. I eagerly anticipate uncovering more valuable information here and extend my best wishes for your future posts!
    Z908 Drone 8K

  16. 통영출장샵

    like water for chocolate » Blog Archive » Methologies III: Interpreting Performance

  17. UFABET says:

    New Jersey. From contract drafting to dispute resolution, we offer comprehensive legal services tailored to your venture’s unique needs and goals.UFABET

  18. 청주출장안마

    like water for chocolate » Blog Archive » Methologies III: Interpreting Performance

  19. “Methologies III: Interpreting Performance” sounds intriguing! I’m curious to know more about how performance is interpreted in different contexts. Have you delved into this subject before? If so, what did you find most interesting or surprising about it?

  20. ram singh says:

    A good blog and very interesting what else is the concept applied to give deep meaning, You are very helpful
    Accent Pieces

  21. You are sharing a very informative and great post.

  22. big gaming says:

    I value the expertise and wisdom you bring to the table.

  23. Gb snapchat provides access to features not available in the original Snapchat app, allowing users to personalize their experience further. From increased control over notifications to enhanced security measures, GB Snapchat offers a comprehensive solution for those seeking a more tailored and versatile Snapchat experience

  24. xboplay says:

    xboplay

    like water for chocolate » methodologies

  25. Your site is useful and good

  26. aman gupta says:

    A good blog and very interesting what else is the concept applied to give deep meaning, You are very helpful
    best human transcription service

  27. Your ability to simplify complex concepts without sacrificing depth is a rare and valuable skill. It’s what sets your blog apart.
    I appreciate the diversity of perspectives you bring to your blog. It fosters a rich and inclusive reading experience.

  28. Your blog is proof that quality content stands the test of time. Each post remains relevant and impactful long after it’s published.
    Kudos on consistently delivering high-quality, thought-provoking content. Your dedication to excellence is evident in every post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.