What is Capoeira?

Capoeira is a unique Brazilian art form that infuses dance, music, gymnastics, self-defense and the Portuguese language. Those that practice this art form, known as Capoeiristas, appear to defy gravity as they jump, flip, spin and cartwheel through the air. Capoeira, for these artists, embodies a discipline, mindset and gives a rhythm to their lives.

Capoeira was born out of the struggle for freedom. African slaves brought it to Brazil in the 16th century and cleverly disguised this powerful form of self-defense as a harmless dance. To hide their fighting spirit from their masters, the earliest Capoeiristas combined playful, graceful dance and acrobatic movements with deadly kicks. While training, they avoided injuries by keeping direct physical contact to a minimum. Songs, percussion instruments, and clapping completed the ritual. For the master, Capoeira was merely entertainment-for the slave, it was a fight for liberation.

Capoeira as a martial art is clever and deceptive. Often appearing vulnerable, the good Capoeirista knows the right time to strike back with lethal power and grace. Musically, Capoeira is enchanting. Beautiful melodies, pulsating rhythms, and the cries and shouts of the crowd blend into one intensely charged atmosphere perfect for the game of Capoeira.