Performance

In many studies of the arts, “performance” is defined as the set of artistic choices an actor, dancer, or musician makes in realizing a preexistent text—whether that text is a dramatic script, a choreographic design, or a musical score. Over the past few decades, however, some scholars in American studies and cultural studies have redefined “performance” as a mode of cultural production composed of events bound in time and framed in space. Whereas the traditional usage of the noun “performance” implies an opposition to “text,” the new usage understands it as a framed event that may well deploy textual elements but cannot be reduced to the realization of preexistent scripts or scores. Like other modes of cultural production, performance takes the form of diverse genres that emerge, alter, and disappear over time. Indian ceremonial, jubilee and Jonkonnu, melodrama, minstrelsy, vaudeville, world’s fairs, modern dance, the Broadway musical: all are distinct …

This essay may be found on page 190 of the printed volume.

Embodiments, Methodologies, Places
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