What's the “It” that We Learn to Perform?

Michelle Kisliuk and Kelly Gross

in Performing Ethnomusicology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238749
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937178 | DOI:
What's the “It” that We Learn to Perform?

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This chapter provides an overview of teaching BaAka Music and Dance. It highlights how, at the University of Virginia (UVA), the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble has become a community of performers. It draws attention to the fact that because BaAka performance required a heightened emphasis on immediate socioaesthetic negotiation, the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble offered the opportunity for embodied study of aesthetics and the politics of representation. It illustrates that environment, spatial connection, and the energy flow of the group are crucial to sound. Furthermore, it claims that in order to perform, they must take off with their BaAka style and make it their own, claiming it by creating a new branch of the tradition that in fact defines them musically and socially. This chapter offers a written dialogue exploring certain issues and processes related to BaAka music and dance.

Keywords: SOAS; University of Virginia; aesthetics; BaAka; socioaesthetic negotiation

Chapter.  5660 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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