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Cultural Heritage of India

Next offering for Winter Break 2012-2013

KU is offering a brand new opportunity to learn about the rich Cultural Heritage of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. No prior background in music or dance is required to enroll in this culture course.

Be introduced to the rich mythological, spiritual, cultural and artistic dimensions of India with Indian experts as part of a Study Abroad to India this summer. This 3-week (3-credit hour) course is cross listed in Anthropology, Religious Studies, Global and International Studies, Dance and Music. This is ideal for students with an open mind that are curious, imaginative, hard working and tough. No other prerequisites are required.

The course will start in Chennai in South India, where the students will be immersed in the traditional annual Music and Dance festival that attracts thousands of performers, artists, students and art lovers from all over. The students will be taken to difference venues to experience diverse arts forms that will enable them to appreciate the ancient temples and architecture of Chennai. During the course the students will also be taken to Thanjavur, Mamalapuram, Madurai and other culturally historic centers rich with spiritual, architectural and artistic dimensions.

The course is designed to create an understanding and appreciation of Indian Heritage and its manifestations in classical music and dance forms of India. Indian festivals, folk and classical music and dance are deeply steeped in Indian classics - The Ramayana and Mahabharata: Most musical lyrics and dances of India are retelling of these stories.

Program Director: Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari, Coordinator, South Asian Studies Program,
Center for Global and International Studies, University of Kansas

Geeta Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari has been trained in diverse forms of Indian Classical Music from a young age in India. She is also learned Hindustani Khayal style and moved on to semi-classical gazal, thumri forms by various teachers including the well known vocalist Shanti Hiranand, a prominent disciple of the vocalist queen Begam Akhtar. During college she spent two months immersed in the non-classroom residential oral teaching and learning tradition called "guru-shishya parampara" with the legendary brother Maestros Z.M. Dagar and Z.F. Dagar in Mumbai, under a SPIC-MACAY scholarship. She later became Z.F Dagar's desciple. She now has diversified to include Vedic chants and Bhajans that reflect the many facets of the Indian philosophical and cultural traditions. She now practices and performs with her group "Ras Mandala" in Lawrence.

At the University of Kansas, Dr. Tiwari is spearheading the South Asian Studies Program where she not only started a very successful Hindi language program but also teaches courses on culture, arts and environmental issues of India. She is also the faculty advisor for SPIC-MACAY at KU student organization that hosts concerts by famous Indian vocalists, instrumentalist and dancers in the traditional baithak style. Dr. Tiwari has a MS in Widlife Biology from the Wildlife Institute of India and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Tiwari has maintained strong ties with India and returns every year to India with either a study abroad or a project.

Email contact: Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari:

Program Director: Patrick Suzeau, M.A., C.M.A., Professor of Dance,
Department of Dance, University of Kansas

Reviewed as a "very special performer...prodigious technique" (Dance Magazine) "physically expressive, a pleasure to watch" (The New York Times) University of Kansas professor Suzeau is the recipient of several choreography commissions and grants from private and public funds, including a Fulbright Fellowship and the 2009 Master Fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission. He has been a guest artist at countless universities across the USA. As Co-artistic director of the Cohan/Suzeau Dance Company he has performed nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. "This is what art at its best is all about" (Arts Indiana). His 2011 international performances included India and Malaysia. For more information go to

Email contact: Patrick Suzeau:


Summer 2011 Study Abroad Course

This course will take you to the ancient temple city of Bhubaneswara in eastern India - a city that is embedded with ancient temples over a thousand years old that are still actively used in much the same way. In Bhubaneswara we will participate in a week long national convention of performing classical arts with India's legendary dancers and musicians. This informal style convention will bring these artists on a common platform with the audience to encourage dialogue and interaction.

We will also visit the Sun temple in the coastal town of Konark, with its horses, elephants and numerous figurines in erotic poses surrounding the sun chariot -all carved in stone. It was on seeing this temple that the Nobel laureate poet Tagore said "Here the language of stone surpasses the language of man." In Puri we will visit the Jagannath Temple or the Temple of the Universe, world famous for its annual chariot procession that thousands of people participate in.

We will then spend two weeks in the lap of the high Himalayas near the Buddhist capital of Dharamsala in the breath-taking Kangra Valley. Here we will learn about the mythological, spiritual, philosophical and technical aspects of classical dance and music from Indian artists in small practical classes. Students will be taught basic aspects of music and dance of India. On the weekends we will visit Buddhist monasteries, rural villages and participate in local cultural events.

The course is designed to create an understanding and appreciation of Indian Heritage and its manifestations in classical music and dance forms of India. Indian festivals, folk and classical music and dance are deeply steeped in Indian classics - The Ramayana and Mahabharata: Most musical lyrics and dances are retelling of these stories. Students will spend the first week immersed in performances and workshops by Maestros of Indian classical music and dance, leading folk artists, and yogis in the ancient temple city of Bhubhaneshwara in the eastern state of Odisha.

During the next two weeks students will be learning classical indian music from Shri Nirmalya Dey, and Odissi dance from Shri Rahul Acharya in a smaller setting via actual oral classes and discussions in a gurukul style residential atmosphere. Students will also also witness the teaching of music and dance to senior music and dance students in the traditional guru-shishya parampara (or teacher-student tradition). Students will be introduced to various historical and contemporary aspects of Indian heritage especially those pertaining to classical music and dance. Students will also practice yoga daily with a teacher.

Classical Indian music encompasses the most ancient Dhrupad style, and the more prevalent Khayal and Karnatic styles of north and south India respectively. Students will be taught the sargam, the raag system, taal systems, practice routines and some bandishes.

Classical East Indian dances have an extensive movement vocabulary that emphasizes the coordination of rhythmic foot patterns with intricate hand gestures. We will learn these gestures, their significance and how they are integrated within dance. We will view all the major dance styles within their historical/cultural context. We will focus exclusively on the Odissi classical style. This course fulfills a non-western requirement.

This 3-week course includes one week of full immersion with India's top artists in the ancient temple city of Bhubaneswara. The following two weeks will include daily yoga as well as music and dance workshops with Indian teachers and artists in the high Himalayas.

Crosslisted Courses:
DANC 440: Intro to Classical East Indian Dance (fulfills non-western requirement)
DANC 898: Directed Study
REL 400: Study Abroad Special Topics
ANTH 501: Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology
GIST301: Topics in International Studies
MUS 801: Music Bibliography and Research

For more details on the program and to apply please go to the KU Office of Study Abroad Cultural Heritage of India Site.




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