Capoeira (cap – oh – air – ah; I know, it’s a mouthful) is a Brazilian martial art with African themes that imitates fighting in a peaceful and often playful dance. Aimed for all
Members of the Capoeira Club practicing in the Pearlstone Atrium. (Photo: Tori Russell)
skill levels, Capoeira has a theme of openness and community that can be understood by even the most basic of beginners. This martial art has history, dance, music, fighting, philosophy, and an intricacy of people combined into one fluid form of expression. Above all, it’s beautiful to watch and exhilarating to take part in.
In class the instructor, Skher, informs the group of Capoeira history as they sit comfortably in a circle. Originally brought over by the slave population, Capoeira developed as a way for the oppressed to learn defense in secret, so as not to gain suspicion by their masters. This martial art used to be played in the streets, had as many styles as it had participants. Master Pastinha and Master Bimba, over 100 years ago, regimented Capoeira. They set standards and founded an official Academy, adding legitimacy to the practice. These uniforms and customs consequently impact much of what Capoeira is today. Capoeira turned from a version of streetdancing to an authentic cultural art. Goucher’s group practices an Angolian style, which integrates all aspects of the culture. Movement, dancing, fighting, and a heavy emphasis on musical instruments are woven into the sessions.
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