Dance With Me: Capoeira

A martial art utilizing acrobatics, dance, and rhythm. Sometimes referred to as Dance Fight Club, Capoeira is played and not a fight, but may be used as self-defense in certain situations. A match is similar to a conversation, with each player contributing their own unique dialogue. Originating as a game in the 16th century, it was a way for slaves in Brazil to enjoy themselves. Portuguese immigrants took the slaves from Africa to work in colonizing Brazil. The martial art was banned by the Portuguese colonists out of fear of the slaves uprising and starting a rebellion. Slaves used it as a way to practice fending for themselves in the volatile Brazilian climate. Home to many creatures in the jungle, slaves escaping the colonists did not mean the end of their danger. It wasn’t until the 1900s that Capoeira was able to be practiced openly.

Capoeira begins with a few instruments being played and singing, then the players start. There are several different types of Capoeira including Angola, Regional, and Contemporary. Throughout the years the interpretation has varied, and considering the large geographical vastness of Brazil, there are even more ways to practice. Some prefer to use it as a method of aerobic exercise while learning self-defense techniques, while others prefer to practice more fast-paced way to use defense tactics.

Due to the varying methods of practicing Capoeira, there are also different ranking methods. Some use colored cords to symbolize ones progress while others use no real ranking system at all. One particular style only has two ranks, teacher and student. Capoeira is a method of expression and was invented as a pastime that fostered practical knowledge of fight.

Interested in learning Capoeira? Come to Dance With Me on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:00 p.m. in the Kansas Room, Kansas Union, Level 6.

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