The Culture in Practice component provides students with the rare opportunity to study under master teachers in the local community. Students must select one option out of the three listed below:
- Music and Dance
- Yoga and Yoga Theory
- Artisanal Apprenticeship
Regardless of their component choice, students will spend a third of their time in a classroom setting with their peers. Weekly lectures will provide the academic framework in which students learn about the theory and history of their Culture in Practice choice. The remaining two-thirds of the class will be spent ‘in practice’, focusing on a specific aspect of the category chosen. Here, students will study their respective art or discipline first-hand through one-on-one or small group lessons with their teachers (gurus). Regular assessments will be jointly conducted by the professor and the teacher throughout the semester. One, out of the three Culture in Practice components offered, is required (3 credits).
Music and Dance
CLTR 280: Music and Dance
Varanasi boasts a longstanding tradition of music that is still vibrant in the city today. Despite the widespread popularity of Bollywood, Indian classical music has continued to play a prominent role in the socio-cultural life of the city. The active performing arts community in Varanasi has a strong legacy in classical Indian music, and was home to legendary figures like Pandit Shanto Prasad (tabla) and Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar).
Music students will be introduced to North Indian classical music and dance through the Indian method of learning. One-on-one practice with gurus will allow students to develop their personal skill. Lectures for music and dance students are led by scholars of Indian performing arts, providing a historical and theoretical foundation for the student’s experience. Students may choose from instruments such as tabla or sitar, Khyal classical singing, or Kathak dance.
Yoga and Yoga Theory
CLTR 280: Yoga and Yoga Theory
The Hindu spiritual destination, Varanasi is home to hundreds of shrines and temples and remains the center for Hindu enlightenment, yoga, and learning. An integral part of Hinduism, yoga has been practiced in India for centuries as a way of freeing the mind, body, and spirit. For these reasons Varanasi provides yoga students with a wealth of context and opportunities for profound experiential learning. Students will have classroom lectures with their Yoga professor two times per week to study both the religious and theoretical foundations of Yoga. Students will then meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings with their teacher to practice Yoga.
CLTR 280: Artisanal Apprenticeship
Varanasi, long known as a center for silk, has attracted many of the world’s finest luxury brands to its doorstep. The artisanal apprenticeship provides an opportunity to study local crafts and trades of significant importance to the local economy in Varanasi. During weekly courses students learn about the history and importance of trades, such as silk weaving and ceramics, and venture into the artisan communities throughout the city accompanied by a professor. In private classes with teachers, students enjoy hands on learning using looms and pottery wheels to better understand the level of skill and artistry in existence in Varanasi today.
*A limited number of internship placements and directed research opportunities may be available for select students. Please contact the India Program Manager for more information.