What is Capoeira?
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art developed in the 1500s by African and Indigenous slaves in Brazil as a form of self-defence from their oppressors. It is marked by its agile and tricky movementthat may be executed anywhere from an upside-down position, to a gravity defying kick. It has a strong acrobatic component in some styles and is always played with music.
The word Capoeira can have many meanings. It is believed to be linked to the tall grass, capoeira, in forests where the slaves would hide and attack their slave masters when they escaped. The term is also believed to be linked with a breed of fighting rooster. Many believe that Breakdancing originated from Capoeira. In the 1970's, many Brazilians immigrated to the US, mostly New York, where they would practice Capoeira in the streets and it was able to influence this new dance form. There are two main styles of Capoeira, along with many other less distinct ones. One is called Angola, which is characterized by tricky, low play with particular attention to the rituals and tradition of Capoeira. This style is often described as slow, however, may be just as fast as the next style, but with different rituals. The other style is Regional, known for its fluid acrobatic, high-flying kicks and powerful attacks. Speed and agility are common traits of this style. Both styles of Capoeira are marked by counter-atacks and feints, and use lots of ground movements along with elbows, hands, kicks, headbutts, sweep and other take-downs.