In the afternoons (from Monday to Thursday), after lunch, you will participate in different workshops. Some of them are organized in small villages around Oaxaca City, others are organized on campus or in the City Center.
Workshop 1: Explore the City
The City of Oaxaca, capital of the state with the same name, is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico and is a historic landmark. It, along with the archeological site of Monte Alban was named a World Heritage Site in 1987 by UNESCO, because of its architecture, its cultural traditions, its cuisine and its climate.
In this workshop, students will explore the city of Oaxaca and its many cultural expressions. Some notable sites which will be visited are the Zócalo (main square) with the State Government Palace and The Cathedral of the Virgin of the Assumption, the church and former monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, the wonderful Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad and its museum, the Museum of Oaxaca Painters, the Market of Benito Juárez and the Market 20 de Noviembre, and a lot more. To complete the cultural goal of this workshop, students are taken to the archaeological site of Monte Albán, where they can enjoy the view of pre-Hispanic pyramids in the ancient Zapotec City.
To finish the workshop, students will be invited to the Guelaguetza. The Guelaguetza, also known as the Fiestas de los Lunes del Cerro (Festivals of Mondays at the Hill) is the major cultural event in the city with origins in pre-Hispanic times.
Workshop 2: Black pottery
Black pottery, first developed nearly 7000 years ago, has grown into a sophisticated and exquisite art form produced by the artisans in Oaxaca. A 'glazeless' type of pottery is produced by using pure, fine and smooth red clay as raw materials, shaped skilfully by hand into graceful forms. A series of specialized techniques including drying, hand polishing, carving and finally a special sintering process produces pottery with a lustre like that of metal. When tapped, it often produces a sound similar of that from a chime stone.
Pottery has been a highly sophisticated art form in Oaxaca since pre-Hispanic times.
This workshop provides you with the opportunity to learn about and create this ancient Mexican art form. You will make your own pieces based upon the traditional green-glazed pottery from the village of San Bartolo while learning first-hand about the lifestyle of local artisans.
Workshop 3: Salsa
The dance commonly referred to as “salsa” originated in Cuba, and has been influenced by music, people and cultures from most of Latin America and even some of Western Europe. Over time it has developed as a unique dance characterized by side to side movement, impressive spin moves and fast rhythms.
Salsa dancing is made up of six step combinations preformed over eight beat rhythms, where beats four and eight are not stepped but act as very slight pauses. The most common step in salsa is called "base", or basic in Spanish, and begins from "closed position" with the man taking a step forward with his left foot (beat one), lifting and then returning to the ground without forward movement his right foot (this is known as a "tap" and is beat two), then a step back past his right foot with his left foot (three), a step back with his right foot (five), a tap with his left foot, six, and a returned to closed position with his right foot (seven).
The woman starts with a step back on beat one so that her feet always remain opposite to the man's. Salsa dancing is composed of a series of turns and cross-over steps that can be chosen at random by the man, making step five the most important step in the base, since it is the step in which he initiates his move. The most basic example is that on turn five, the man might raise his right arm and his partner's left arm, and spin her to the right and back around while continuing to move his feet and end on beat seven.
In the salsa workshop (organized on campus), you will enjoy and practice various dance steps which will give you the opportunity to show off your friends on weekends in dance bars in the center of Oaxaca.
Workshop 4: Optional. Once finished the three first workshops, students will have the opportunity to decide whether or not they want another workshop. Most students want to visit the city (and its marvellous museums and monuments) on their own, which is the reason we left this week without any workshop. Prices of this extra workshop will be agreed on, depending on the number of inscriptions.