CULTURAL FRIDAY: Capoeira


Capoeira is a Brazilian cultural expression of the 14th century, when Brazil was a Portuguese colony. During the Africans’ arrival to Brazil in the colonial age, they brought this practice as a form of resistance and cultural manifestation, since they had their beliefs and traditions repressed during the slavery period.


Slaves were prohibited of practicing any martial art, so they used the rhythm and movements of the African dances, as a form of resistance. It was an important instrument of the Brazilian slaves’ cultural and physics resistance. They used to play it at senzalas (place where the slaves used to live in the farms) and its functions were the maintenance of their culture, health, and stress relief.


Before 1930, the practice of capoeira was prohibited in Brazil and the police received orientation to capture capoeiristas (people who play capoeira). Later, the president, Mr. Getúlio Vargas, officially established the practice as a national Brazilian sport.


Capoeira can be categorized in three styles of different movements and musical rhythm. The oldest style was created during slavery time, the Capoeira de Angola. The regional style, characterized by its balance and fast movements using berimbau (musical instrument). The last one is the contemporary one, which is played using mixed techniques.

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