Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, games, music and dance. It was created in Brazil by slaves brought from Africa, especially from present day Angola some time after the 16th century. It was developed in the region of Quilombo dos Palmares, located in the actual Brazilian state of Alagoas, and has great influence on the Afro-Brazilian generations, with strong presence at the present day states of Bahia, Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro.
Participants form a circle and take turns playing musical instruments (such as the Berimbau), singing, or ritually sparring in pairs in the center of the circle. The sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of sweeps, kicks, and headbutts.
Over the last three decades, capoeira has spread itself throughout the whole world, especially in the U.S. It all began when capoeira masters started to immigrate to North-American cities like New York.
Speaking of it, New York Daily News has just posted an article describing a capoeira group created by Brazilians in NYC as the new Brooklyn craze:
“There is the music, heavy on drums and the plaintive timbre of the berimbau, an instrument that looks like a longbow with a gourd attached. Music is the foundation for each workout. And there is the movement – a seamless string of hand stands, kicks, blocks, forward and back rolls, following one after the other in high-energy, acrobatic dance.
Hardened heels slice the air inches over a just ducked head. Foreheads dart in to lightly touch chests, playfully warning of the damage a head butt would have inflicted if violence had been its intent.
It all looks so easy as the couple cavort around their Capoeira Brooklyn studio in Park Slope.
‘It is easy, once you learn’, Costas said. ‘Your body has to take time to adjust to the art.’
Right. Try doing a hand stand, dear reader. Then roll out of that and execute a leg sweep that takes your opponent to his or her knees.”
Well, it takes indeed a little bit of flexibility! Click here to see the full article published in the New York Daily News website.