Students on the Summer in Ghana program will perform, analyze, construct, critique and demonstrate their acquired skills in various African artistic mediums such as music, dance, theater, and visual arts through studio classes, interaction with families, artists, chiefs, governmental art institutions and renowned professors which makes this an extraordinary life-changing experience.
Participants in the program can choose 2-3 of the following courses, each of which is worth 3 credits, for a total of 6-9 credits:
African Music and Related Arts
This course will explore the significant interrelationships among the arts of Africa, with special attention to music, dance, poetry, storytelling, visual and dramatic expressions. The goal is to increase a deeper understanding and hence better appreciation of the artistic-aesthetic, communal, ritual, and general functions of the arts in everyday life without undermining their essential interrelatedness. Additionally, students will be equipped with analytical tools, ideas, and contextual information drawn from diverse cultural groups, in time and space. Selections will include, among others, contemporary performance traditions, such as popular secular and religious (i.e., indigenous, Christian, Islamic, secret societies, etc.), and those employed routinely in rites of passage. Students will gain close familiarity with specific examples through hands-on, audiovisual and live presentations. The course will also explore in detail traits unique to each category (or genre) of art (such as music, dance, mask form) in order to raise students’ sensitivity toward local creative genius, innovative tendencies, and the communal values that frame the arts and the experiences associated with them. Finally, the course will create a framework that would facilitate the appreciation of the influences of the African arts on other world cultures.
Dance in non-Western Cultures: African
This course investigates the historical and aesthetic practices of human society in non-western cultures focusing on: dance as a system of communication, dance as part of a social structure, dance as ethnicity, and dance as sacred art. The course also examines dance as a human phenomenon that both reflects and shapes culture. Through a series of lectures, discussions, studio workshops, readings, films/videos and outside performances or guest artists (when possible), students are introduced to a variety of dance forms from different African (and World) traditions. The focus of this course will be on Ghana with general survey of dances from sub-Saharan Africa, and the African Diaspora (and other world dance and music forms.) The course examines the place of dance in its own cultural setting and its relationship to contemporary artistic expressions. Assignments will include both performance work and research papers. This course involves lectures, studio workshop, as well as performance presentations. Participation in the above-mentioned activities is mandatory and therefore attendance is important in each class meeting. Performance Projects will be based on accumulated knowledge from the course, required reading(s), workshop activities and student’s outside research.
African Cultural Values
This course investigates the psychological, religious, historical and sociological foundations of African cultures. Focusing on selected Ghanaian ethnic groups, students will investigate interdisciplinary strategies for developing cross-cultural understanding of African cultures values and ways of life. Emphasis upon innovative approaches to indigenous learning and teaching will also be discussed and experienced in traditional contexts. Practical activities will be involved.
African Dance-Drumming Ensemble
This course provides an opportunity for advanced study and performance of African music and dance in an ensemble setting from sub- Saharan Africa. Students will employ various African performance techniques and will demonstrate their skills using the master drum, supporting instruments, singing and dance. Social, cultural and historical backgrounds of various ethnic groups, functions and analytical study of dance movements in ritual, ceremonial, religious, and recreational contexts will also be investigated. Films and videotapes will provide visual examples. Students will have opportunities to perform on campus and also tour with the ensemble.
African Dance Technique
This course provides an opportunity for advance study and performance of African dance as a performance activity from sub-Saharan Africa. Students will employ various African performance techniques and will demonstrate their skills using dance, singing, the master drum, and supporting instruments. Social, Cultural and Historical background of various ethnic groups, functions and analytical study of dance movements in ritual, ceremonial, religious, and recreational contexts will also be investigated. Films and videotapes will provide visual examples.