Let’s Dance (or Perform)! #DanceExtravaganza

After a few heavy weeks – violence, borders, Kurdish disapora – this week will feature something lighter, perhaps. For this week will be Allegra’s first ever (but certainly NOT the last) Dance Extravaganza!

Or more specifically, this is how the plan got started via some innocent social media exchanges, an increasingly cherished route for Allegra’s content. A tweet, a Facebook post and an email later and there we have it – a full week of Boogie Down FUN!

In reality we offer, of course, something much more interesting still, namely four posts featuring detailed and nuanced accounts on music, dance, performance and politics. Just as we discovered via one of our favorite posts yet, namely Flatulanthropology, when given the appropriate anthropological ‘scrub down’ even such seemingly flimsy topics as ‘pull my finger’-jokes acquire profound layers that are only waiting for analysis. And the same certainly applies here.

 

With these thoughts in mind, we kick things off with something quite flamboyant, namely the annual Air Guitar World Championships taking place in Oulu, Northern Finland. Can mimicking the memorable strokes of Jimi Hendrix really bring about world peace – as one of the contest’s modest slogans go?

rsz_airguitar_optPaul MullinsAllegra’s ‘very own donut guy’ – discusses this and much more in his take on this unique combination of ‘camp, confidence, naïve sincerity, self-aware insignificance’, which he calls ‘quite possibly among the most accessible of all expressive arts’.

We then continue with a post that takes a huge geographic leap, but perhaps bears closer similarity to underlying issues than what spontaneously meets the eye: Nanna Schneiderman talks of Ugandan youth culture, particularly the role of karaoke in it.

 

Her post is contextualized in a broader study exploring popular music culture – a commonly overlook area of youth culture in development work and research – to understand how karaoke as a particular performance ideology shapes the actions, values and future life-courses of the engaged participants, as well as to understand how popular music culture functions as a space for self-fashioning and innovation.

 

After that we leave music behind us momentarily to glance at how performance – or rather ‘the complexities of framing and staging’ as this post explains – influence behavior and thought in relation to their immediate environment, or, how, in turn, human behavior influences the way we frame spaces and spheres for others. In his post Jonas Tinius discusses ongoing work to explore these issues via very ‘now’ experiments combining anthropology and the arts.

We conclude this week with a post by ‘Allies Ally’ Gavin Weston, who shares his thoughts on using music ‘medicinally’. What does this mean – and what role does the placebo effect have here? True to Allegra’s experimental spirit this post remains at present largely a sketch, and we look forward to the unfolding of the thought process behind it; not the least a particular book linked to an event called ‘the Fieldwork Playlist’ arranged last year at Goldsmiths.

 

Thanks – once again – for joining our bizarre intellectual magic carpet ride; we hope to keep you entertained!

 

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