What's That Dance?
By Jackielou Perez
Photo from Axe Capoeira Toronto
Pronounced, “kap-oo-air-uh”, this Afro-Brazilian form of dance is a fusion of martial arts, dance, music and acrobatics. Traditionally performed in a circle, or roda, it is an intense physical and mental challenge between two players, known as capoeiristas.
There are two main styles of Capoeira. Angola is described as slow with particular attention to the rituals and traditions of Capoeira. The other is Regional which is fluid acrobatics, high-flying kicks and powerful attacks. Both styles are characterized by deceptive kicks, sweeps, trips, head butts, and elbow and knee movements (see example
The game's energy, rhythm and speed are determined by music that is played by instruments in a row called the bateria. This includes the Berimbaus (which look like an archer's bow), the Pandeiro (tambourines), agogo (double gong bell), and the Atabaque (conga-like drum).
Students wear a belt to identify their skill level (there are 16 belts for adults) and participate in Brazilian celebrations known as Batizado to advance to the next level.
“Capoeira is for everybody,” says Marcos Martins from Axe Capoeira Toronto
. “It doesn’t require a certain body shape, form or age group."
Martins, who is also known as Professor Paraiba (professor is the yellow belt in the graduation system), also says people interested “don’t need to be flexible or be in shape to start classes, but you will see positive changes in your body from increased strength to a toned body.”
Here are three reasons why you should try Capoeira:
• Provides a great form of exercise (one hour of burns about 500 calories)
• Develops the cardiovascular system and core strength
• Your mind is stimulated with focus by anticipating your opponent’s movements, listening to the music and executing sequences.
Check our dance registry
for introductory classes in Canada to learn the basic elements of Capoeira.
• Canadian SYTYCD contestants perform Capoeira choreographed by Paul Becker
• Aspiring models learn the art of Capoeira on America’s Next Top Model