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: ,

9,450 Responses to “Methologies III: Interpreting Performance”

  1. Kami sebagai salah satu situs game slot online terpercaya merekomendasikan Daftar Agen slot Online Bigo88 yang Banyak memberikan dukungan rtp slot pragmatic dan pola slot maxwin yang sangat terpercaya.

  2. Anyhow 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. High Rock Lake NC

  3. maxwin says:

    Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our. Dịch vụ SEO BIO

  4. 仙台駅から徒歩3分のジェイムズ英会話仙台校、あおば通駅からは徒歩1分の抜群のアクセスで通学しやすい英会話スクール。1975年の創立以来、仙台の皆様に良質で低価格な英会話教室として愛されてきました。仙台 英会話

  5. merekomendasikan says:

    The website is looking bit flashy and it catches the visitors eyes. Design is pretty simple and a good user friendly interface. minuet kitten

  6. Cloud Phone System Reviews 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. Cloud Phone System Reviews

  7. C’est le top du top ça !

  8. william says:

    I wanted to reach out and let you know how much I enjoyed your recent blog post. Your writing style is engaging and informative, and I appreciated the insights you shared on topic.
    Your post really resonated with me, and I found myself nodding along as I read through it. I especially appreciated your idea and the way you presented it.
    Thank you for taking the time to create such valuable content. Your blog is always a go-to resource for me, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
    fatal accidente de motocicleta en playa de virginia

  9. sammy says:

    like water for chocolate » Assignments

  10. How To Build Lockers For Woodworking Projects

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

  11. interesting says:

    Hello I am so delighted I located your blog, I really located you by mistake, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could just like to say thank for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining website. Please do keep up the great work. Guns Ammos

  12. I like the way you write. And I will continue to comment. ka สมัคร

  13. This is really nice to read..informative post is very good to read..thanks a lot!

  14. terpercaya says:

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

  15. By creating our own Toto site food verification system, we are doing our best so that users can enjoy the safety Toto site major playground, safety playground, major site safety site, etc. Enjoy sports Toto betting on a safe private Toto site at Majortotosite Pro.

    바카라

  16. Live dealer baccarat games are no different regardless of location. You can play in a land-based casino or at home, and live games play exactly the same.

    카지노

  17. If you are looking for the best online baccarat casinos, look no further. In this guide, we begin our list of the best baccarat online casinos. After that, you can find lots of other useful details about the game’s online format, frequently asked questions, playing tips, and more.

    온라인카지노

  18. One of the best things about online casinos is that they offer a variety of options. Game variations and choices are the two most important things aside from legality, online security and payouts. Variety of games is one of the hallmarks of the best online casino experiences.

    온라인카지노

  19. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks.

  20. Dankie, want u was bereid om inligting met ons te deel. ons sal altyd alles waardeer wat u hier gedoen het, want ek weet dat u baie bekommerd is oor die VSA

    https://www.bacarasite.com/

  21. realize 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 briansclub.cm

  22. This is really good blog information thanks for sharing .I am really impressed with your writing abilities.

  23. I like your explanations, and your site was quite informative.

  24. driving idea says:

    driving idea

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

  25. ฝาก1รับ100 says:

    มาใหม่ล่าสุด โปรโมชั่นสล็อตเว็บใหม่ แจกจริงทุกเกม สมัครเป็นสมาชิกใหม่รับโปรมากมายคุ้มค่าที่สุด สล็อตออนไลน์ ฝาก1รับ100 เล่นได้เงินไว จ่ายจริงแจกง่าย ถอนเร็วที่สุด เกมสล็อตมีทุกค่าย เล่นได้ทุกเกม ได้รับการไว้ใจจากผู้เล่นจำนวนมาก

  26. สล็อตโรม่าฟรี says:

    เว็บตรงไม่ผ่านเอเย่นต์ เล่นฟรีทุกเกม ทุกค่าย จ่ายเงินได้เงินจริง รวมเกมสล็อตทุกค่าย สล็อตโรม่าฟรี เล่นสล็อตฟรีรับเครดิตฟรี ถอนได้เงินจริง รวมเกมน่าเล่นมากมาย ค่ายสล็อตจากต่างประเทศ กดรับเงินเครดิตฟรี เพื่อเล่นสล็อตได้เลย

  27. ทดลองเล่นสล็อตซื้อฟรีสปินได้ says:

    เว็บสล็อตเว็บใหญ่ที่สุด คนเล่นเยอะที่สุด ไม่ต้องฝาก ไม่ต้องเติม กดรับเงินเครติตฟรีได้ง่ายๆ ทดลองเล่นสล็อตซื้อฟรีสปินได้ สมัครเป็นสมาชิก กดรับเลย จ่ายไม่อั้น เงินรางวัลโบนัสมากมาย กดรับเอง สมัครสมาชิกเลย

  28. ทดลองเล่นสล็อต pg ซื้อฟรีสปิน says:

    สล็อตออนไลน์ แจกเงินเครดิตฟรี เล่นสล็อตทุกเกมฟรี รีวิวว่าได้เงินเยอะที่สุด ทดลองเล่นสล็อต pg ซื้อฟรีสปิน รวมค่ายสล็อตทุกค่ายในเว็บเดียว รวมความสนุกที่สุด สล็อตเดิมพันเร็ว แตกง่าย

  29. 100รับ200ถอนไม่อั้น ล่าสุด says:

    เกมสล็อตใหม่ๆ อัพเดทใหม่ทุกวัน เล่นเกมสล็อตถอนเงินเร็ว สล็อตแตกง่าย แจ็คพอตแตกไว 100รับ200ถอนไม่อั้น ล่าสุด รวมโบนัสมากมาย แจกทุกเกม ทดลองเล่นสล็อตฟรี ทุกค่ายเกม ค่ายดังมากมาย เดิมพันไม่มีขั้นต่ำ 1 บาท ฝากได้

  30. Roger says:

    Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our. فن سانتریفیوژ

  31. pragmatic 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. recarga jogo

  32. https://disneycoloring.eu.org/

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

  33. Excellent Blog. I really want to admire the quality of this post. I like the way of your presentation of ideas, views and valuable content.

  34. Pengeluaran HK

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

  35. doakiconasfo.online noted

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

  36. Ava02 says:

    เว็บไซต์ pgslot.bar รวมเกมออนไลน์ pgslot ส่งตรงจากประเทศอังกฤษ รองรับมือถือทุกระบบเล่นได้ทุกที่ทุกเวลา รูปแบบเกมมาใหม่ ผู้เล่นสามารถเข้าทดลองเล่นได้แล้ววันนี้ก่อนลงเล่นจริง เพื่อที่ผู้เล่นจะได้เข้าใจและรู้ทันเกมที่ตัวเองจะลงเงินจะได้ไม่พลาดเงินก้อนโต.

  37. Beatrice Puga says:

    This article was fantastic and very helpful. I’ve only just started, but I’m getting better familiar with it! Thanks, and keep up the great work! pika show

  38. drjgmust.com says:

    drjgmust.com

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

  39. play slot online win real money

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

  40. Office Phone Systems says:

    Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. Office Phone Systems

  41. direct website

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

  42. otocartrend.biz.id

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

  43. Multi Gun Shop says:

    Awesome article, it was exceptionally helpful! I simply began in this and I’m becoming more acquainted with it better! Cheers, keep doing awesome! Multi Gun Shop

  44. i like your details , your blog was so interesting. https://acaeronet.site/

  45. herhangi says:

    thanks this is good blog. satellite phone

  46. Dr Syed E Ahmed MD says:

    Cleveland Clinic Insomnia is a renowned healthcare facility located in Cleveland, Ohio, that provides a wide range of medical services, including treatment for insomnia. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

  47. Roger Albert says:

    The Medicator’s is a reputable Billing Audit Services company that provides comprehensive services to healthcare providers. Their experienced team, commitment to compliance, and dedication to customer service make them a top choice for healthcare providers looking for reliable billing and coding services.

  48. i like your details , your blog was so interesting

  49. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized
    it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and
    I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  50. Bigo88 says:

    Kami sebagai salah satu situs game slot online terpercaya merekomendasikan Daftar Agen slot Online Bigo88 yang Banyak memberikan dukungan rtp slot pragmatic dan pola slot maxwin yang sangat terpercaya.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.