Michelle Kisliuk – Seize the Dance
Kisliuk begins this section of her introduction by speaking about where the field of ethnomusicology lies, the issues that she and others have faced in trying to integrate this field into its appropriate area, and what she wants to achieve with this book. Ethnomusicology is the study of music in different cultures. It is a part of Performance Studies. Over the years, ethnomusicology has been combining fieldwork and ethnography in the realm of performance. Although there has been a buildup of conservative and unchanging academics who question this field, and have questioned its legitimacy as a valid, academic institution. One of the reasons that Kisliuk mentions for this is that ethnomusicology is untraditional in the sense that it is not a discipline with a specific set of rules and a code of conduct to work by. A barrier between music and performance materialized. John Blacking was a man who tried to get rid of this wall and show that music is a part of performance. Kisliuk was interested in being able to make a lively ethnography the product of lively song and dance. When she was a college she decided to study the link between social relationships and music during festival musical sessions. She fully integrated herself into the experience, and did not just simply observe. She wrote an ethnography that reflected this. Kisliuk’s strategy in writing ethnographies about music is showing the link between aesthetics, politics, social relationships and economy on performance, specifically song and dance. She added to this by writing down her research, and by writing empathetically.
Kisliuk criticizes authors who have written about the populations they have studied as the perfect model of what they represent, never changing, and outside of the rest of the world. She states that they failed to write about the changes that take place in a culture’s politics, economic state, and the social...