by Samvita Kalyan
With the growing need for all round excellence in fields beyond academics, one feels the need for a medium of ‘infotainment’ – something to foster the hidden talents of young bright minds. The IIT Madras campus, located in the heart of the city, is surrounded by a number of well known hobby classes ranging from music to photography, from fine arts to dance.
For the musically inclined, the immediate locality around the campus has a variety of music classes to offer. Whether it be picking up a new instrument, reviving an old one, or working up the confidence to exercise those vocal chords, the music classes located around the area have a lot on their menu. Perhaps the most famous and recognised as far as western music is concerned is the Unwind School of Music located at Adyar. The music school offers classes for guitar, drums, and keyboards. The classes are conducted once a week and require the students to bring their own guitars and keyboards. The classes are structured by levels, offering beginner/intermediate and advanced.
Another such western music school is the Roys Music Academy, located outside Krishna gate in the Velachery locality. Drums, keyboards, guitar, and violin are the instruments on offer here and the classes are conducted twice a week.
If soaking up Chennai’s rich culture and heritage is more your thing, Carnatic music classes are aplenty in this region. The prestigious Kalakshetra foundation located over 100 acres of natural surroundings offers classes in veena, violin, flute, mridangam and carnatic music vocals. The classes are conducted twice a week on the campus.
The Kalakshetra foundation however, is more famously known for its Bharatanatyam classes, churning out famous names like the Dhananjayans. Classes are conducted thrice a week.
Another Bharatanatyam school located not far from the IIT campus is Antara School of Dance in Kotturpuram. This dance school propagates the Kalakshetra style of dance and classes are conducted twice a week. The school also offers theory classes and examinations in the same.
For those looking for something other than Bharatanatyam classes, the Konark Odissi Dance and Art Academy located in Besant Nagar is known for its proficiency. Devaniya, the dance school set up by famed Kathak dancer Jigyasa Giri, is another such school. Located in Mylapore, a little far off, the school nevertheless offers everything a kathak enthusiast is looking for and is worth the commute.
The Verb school of Dance located in Adyar is a far cry from the traditionalism of Chennai and its arts. The school teaches upto 10 styles of western dance including hip-hop, salsa, freestyle, and rock ‘n roll. For something a little more different, the Russian Culture Centre in Alwarpet offers Ballet classes and takes in students of all levels.
If dance or music isn’t your forte, Chennai has much more on its platter. Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art, is taught at Spaces in Besant Nagar. Set in a picturesque garden overlooking the beach, Kalaripayattu classes are conducted thrice a week for an hour each and encompass all levels. Alternatively, classes are also conducted in the Kalakshetra foundation.
Language enthusiasts can revel in the fact that Chennai has a lot to offer in this spectrum. French classes organized by Alliance Francaise are held at Sishya school in Adyar. The classes are conducted on weekends and at the end of the course you will receive a DELF certificate. German classes are held at Max Mueller Bhavan in Nungambakkam and while the commute might be tiresome, the certified course will leave you proficient in German. Spanish Classes at the Instituto Hispania in Santhome, also conducted over the weekends, is another such certified course. Learn Italian at the Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce in Nungambakkam, and Japanese at the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Teynampet. Both the courses are structured over a number of levels and also include reading and writing.
Apart from these official learning centres, INaWORD in Adyar also offers courses in German, Spanish, Japanese and French. This is also a certified learning centre and classes are conducted on the weekends.
The Kalakshetra foundation, among other things, also has fine arts classes conducted twice a week. “Let’s do something” is an activity center located in Velachery that has a number of things on offer including dance, music, and arts.
For photography enthusiasts, Ambition 4 Photography Academy offers a basic course in DSLR photography. The course is conducted on weekends for approximately 3 months. While slightly on the expensive side, the course nevertheless is a comprehensive one and the student receives a ‘Certificate of Basic Photography’ at the end.
For adrenaline junkies, Chennai also has its own Parkour classes. Organized by the Chennai parkour and free running community thrice a week, the duration of the entire course is three months. Chennai also plays home to a cycling group- Chain ReaXion (CRX). The cycling group organizes cycling trips from Thiruvanmiyur to Radisson temple bay resort. Along the way, refreshments are provided and the trip culminates in breakfast at the resort.
There sure isn’t a doubt that a steer away from the grinding academic schedule is more than welcome. So go do something different, something you’ve always wanted to do, while you still can!