Capoeira

by : Sarfraz Uchil

Capoeira

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Published : on 10/21/19

Capoeira, dancelike martial art of Brazil, performed to the accompaniment of call-and-response choral singing and percussive instrumental music. It is most strongly associated with the country’s northeastern region.
The basic aesthetic elements of capoeira were brought to Brazil by slaves, primarily from west and west-central Africa. These elements were recombined and reinterpreted within the diverse slave community of Brazil to create a unique means of self defense, both driven and disguised—as merely a dance—by its musical accompaniment. Slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, but capoeira continued to flourish within the Afro-Brazilian population, particularly in the northeastern state of Bahia. The government, however, recognizing the physical and spiritual potency of the art form and considering it a threat to society, continued to outlaw the practice until the early 20th century.
Capoeira is best described not as a dance but as a sport in which the participants—historically, sometimes with blades strapped to their ankles or held between their toes—swing their legs high in attack, perform aerial somersaults, and pass within a hairsbreadth of each other’s knees, head, groin, or stomach. Flexibility, stamina, rapidity of movement, and malicia (deception) are more important than sheer muscular strength. Although marked by the use of graceful, fluid, and often acrobatic movements as a means to escape rather than block an attack, the “game” of capoeira, as it is called by its practitioners, can nonetheless be lethal when contact is actually made with a well-timed, well-placed blow.