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: ,

9,430 Responses to “Methologies III: Interpreting Performance”

  1. Madu88 says:

    Kami sebagai salah satu situs game slot online terpercaya merekomendasikan Daftar Agen slot Online Madu88 yang Banyak memberikan dukungan RTP Slot Pragmatic dan Pola Slot Maxwin Yang Sangat Terpercaya.

  2. Bigo88 says:

    Bigo88 merupakan situs slot Pragmatic uang asli yang telah terjamin kemenangannya,selain itu sangat banyak keuntungan yang bisa Anda dapatkan hanya dengan bermain Disitus Kami Hanya Menggunakan 1 user ID saja.

  3. Madu88 says:

    Temukan Dan Mainkan Game Slot Gacor Terpopuler Saat Ini HAnya Di situs Madu88 Dan Dijamin Bisa Maxwin, Bahkan Banyak Scatter yang bisa Anda dapatkan ketika sedang memainkan slot game pada situs kami. Hanya dengan memainkan satu user ID saja.

  4. Dewataspin says:

    Rtp Slot Gacor Disitus Kami telah diakui sebagai Judi Online Terpercaya yang mampu memberikan Anda profit besar hanya dalam beberapa kali putaran permainan saja, jadi Anda tidak perlu takut untuk mengalami kekalahan selama bermain di situs Dewataspin.

  5. Dewataspin says:

    Dewataspin merupakan slot online terpercaya dan terbaik yang sudah terbukti gacornya, banyak keuntungan besar yang bisa Anda dapatkan ketika bergabung di situs resmi kami.tidak perlu takut mengalami kerugian selama Anda bermain di situs Kami Sudah Terpercaya Dan Aman.

  6. Wakanda33 says:

    kunjungi situs judi slot online terpercaya Dan Gampang menang hanya dengan melakukan daftar di situs Wakanda33 yang merupakan salah satu situs terbaik. Permainan slot yang bisa anda mainkan game slot Slot Pragmatic Uang Asli .

  7. Wakanda33 says:

    Wakanda33 adalah situs permainan taruhan olahraga hingga kasino terkemuka dan terpercaya di Asia, WAKANDA33 menawarkan pengalaman judi online terbaik dengan berbagai variasi permainan kasino & sportsbook yang dapat dipilih dengan odds paling kompetitif dalam dunia judi sepak bola.

  8. Wakanda33 says:

    Daftarkan ID Anda Di situs Judi Online Dan Mainkan Game Slot Online Terlengkap sekarang di situs Kami untuk mendapatkan user ID pro dan dijamin gacor. Hanya dengan memainkan satu user ID saja Anda sudah bisa mendapatkan banyak keuntungan dan profit yang besar.

  9. material says:

    Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. Vjenčanja

  10. Brilliant says:

    Awesome and interesting article. Great things you’ve always shared with us. Thanks. Just continue composing this kind of post. Utakmice Uživo

  11. reading says:

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. Cijena zlata

  12. Cijena zlata says:

    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. Cijena zlata

  13. Interpreting says:

    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I’m pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. Uvoz auta

  14. Perfectly composed articles , thankyou for information.
    Of course, your article is good enough, but I thought it would be much better to see professional photos and videos together. There are articles and photos on these topics on my homepage,

    Exactly what I was searching for, appreciate it for putting up.
    비아그라 구매

  15. Perfectly composed articles , thankyou for information.
    Of course, your article is good enough, but I thought it would be much better to see professional photos and videos together. There are articles and photos on these topics on my homepage, 123

    Exactly what I was searching for, appreciate it for putting up.2
    비아그라 구입

  16. Perfectly composed articles , thankyou for information.
    Of course, your article is good enough, but I thought it would be much better to see professional photos and videos together. There are articles and photos on these topics on my homepage,

    Exactly what I was searching for, appreciate it for putting up.
    비아그라 구매

  17. gclub เว็บบาคาร่าและสล้อตที่ดีที่สุด ปรับปรุงใหม่เกมเยอะภาพสวย gclub royal888 ระบบ ฝาก-ถอน ออโต้ ใช้แค่เบอร์โทรล้อคอินระบบง่ายๆ ที่สำคัญเราคืนยอดเสีย 10% ทุกวันจันทร์ ไม่ติดเทริน์ถอนออกได้เลยค่ะ

  18. own the win says:

    Whether it’s a physical casino or online, poker will always be one of the most populated tables, even in the Philippines!!! Want to know more about the site? visit here —>> online poker tips

  19. Thanks for sharing such a nice article. I really appreciate that please keep on posting.

  20. IELTS Essays says:

    Writing an effective essay requires several considerations which you can learn at https://ieltsessays.net/

  21. bluff man says:

    The Philippines is a higly prominent gaming area!!! Want to know more about the site? visit here —>> online casino games real money

  22. Australian Law Assignment Help offers top-notch Civil Law Assignment Help. Our team of legal experts provides quality solutions for all law assignments. Get assistance with contract law, tort law, and all areas of law. Experience the difference with our commitment to quality and timely delivery. Contact us now for the best law assignment help in Australia.

  23. 먹튀검증 says:

    ¡Hola, sitio web genial! Chico .. Excelente ..
    Excelente … marcaré su sitio web como favorito y tomaré
    los feeds además? Me alegra buscar un
    mucha información útil junto con el envío, nos gustaría trabajar en más estrategias 먹튀검증

  24. Mesa De Madera Y Lona

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

  25. Usa private proxy

    I found a great…

  26. Frdsa says:

    Thanks for this wonderful information on this site. ACAeronet

  27. water says:

    I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. Daily Pills

  28. love says:

    Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can’t help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks Space Expert

  29. 씨알리스 says:

    Of course, your article is good enough, but I thought it would be much better to see professional photos and videos together. There are articles and photos on these topics on my homepage,

    Exactly what I was searching for, appreciate it for putting up.
    비아그라 파는곳

  30. Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much.

  31. Brilliant information here! Hopefully you wont stop the flow of such magical material!

  32. 카지노사이트 게임

    like water for chocolate » Assignments

  33. ufavip666 says:

    ufavip666 เว็บบาคาร่าออนไลน์รวมทุกค่ายพนันชื่อดัง เล่นเซ็กซี่บาคาร่า ufavip666 ฟรีเครดิต ได้เงินจริง เว็บรวมคาสิโนออนไลน์ทุกค่าย มีสูตรบาคาร่าให้ทดลองใช้ฟรี

  34. ufa7-11 says:

    UFA7-11 UFABET เว็บไซต์พนันออนไลน์ คาสิโนออนไลน์ ที่สมบูรณ์แบบที่สุด มีความ มั่นคง และ บริการเยี่ยม ที่สุด ยูฟ่าเบท ยังคงครอบเป็นอันดับ 1

  35. ufabetstar365 UFABET เป็นเว็บไซต์เจ้าแรกเจ้าเดียวที่รับการแต่งตั้งเป็นเว็บพนันออนไลน์ เว็บจริงที่สมบูรณ์แบบ UFABET เว็บตรงในไทยและเอเซีย

  36. james says:

    Wonderful post. your post is very well written and unique.

    ¿Cuánto tiempo toma un divorcio de mutuo acuerdo en Virginia?

    https://srislawyer.com/abogado-divorcio-sin-oposicion-virginia-cronologia-divorcio-sin-oposicion-va/

  37. A2 Milk Price starting from Rs.99 per litre. Buy A2 Desi Cow Milk Online from Native Milk and get it delivered at your door step in Mumbai and Pune. Order now!

  38. friend says:

    I’m going to read this. I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing. and also This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives indepth information. thanks for this nice article… Mi Flash Tool

  39. Of course, your article is good enough, but I thought it would be much better to see professional photos and videos together. There are articles and photos on these topics on my homepage,

    Exactly what I was searching for, appreciate it for putting up.
    비아그라 구입

  40. Getting Assignment Helper in UK can be a great resource for students who need support with their coursework. With professional assistance, students can receive guidance and feedback to improve their grades and better understand the material. However, it’s important to choose a reputable service to ensure quality work and avoid plagiarism.

  41. hotel management colleges says:

    Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information! hotel management colleges

  42. zapatillas CrossFit para mujer says:

    What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. zapatillas CrossFit para mujer

  43. just click the following internet site

    like water for chocolate » Assignments

  44. ibnkitchen.my.id

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

  45. gamantekno.my.id

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

  46. visit the up coming site

    like water for chocolate » Assignments

  47. This is one of the best expositions I have ever come across, the content is clear and engaging to read.

  48. 안전한 카지노사이트

    like water for chocolate » Assignments

  49. relevant site

    like water for chocolate » Assignments

  50. https://cheapoflightstickets.com says:

    Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading. https://cheapoflightstickets.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.