Inside Afro-Brazilian Martial Art-Dance Traditions in Seattle

With more than 23 years of Capoeira experience, instructor Silvio Aleixo Dos Reis was kind enough to take some time to chat with us and provide more info on the ancient art form. Check out International Capoeira Angola Foundation Seattle’s performance at Seattle Children’s Festival at 11:45 a.m in Loft 3.

SCF:  What exactly is Capoeira Angola? A sport, a game, or a dance?

SDR: Capoeia Angola is an Afro-Brazilian martial art-dance traditions carried by enslaved Africans brought to Brazil beginning in the sixteenth century. Capoeira developed in Brazil as a “dance fight” that combines wit, flexibility and strategy into a graceful and nimble art of both body and mind. Today, Capoeira Angola is an art form that uses the language of movement and music to enhance self-esteem and push our bodies in a healthy way.

SCF:  Why should people learn Capoeira as a form of exercise?

SDR: We teach Capoeira as a fun and engaging art form that promotes the development of coordination, balance, body strength and agility. Through the fundamental elements of cooperation, creativity and natural movements, each class focuses on achievement, leadership and community building.

SCF: Capoeira seems pretty physically demanding, how can young or older people safely get involved with it?

SDR: The different movements of Capoeira can be set up to be done for everybody from all ages. We teach in a way that we have specific movements that we can teach for young people and other movements that the older people can do in a fun and safe environment. In this way different groups can participate in the same class and feel well supported by the instructor and all class.

SCF: Any tips for people who are interested in learning Capoeira?

SDR: If people are interested in learning capoeira, it is very important to do not try to do by themselves. All the movements need specific orientation to do and in the beginning is good to have a instructor and a good school to start. Look for a professional capoeira school and help the capoeira community grow.

In this class people will enhance their musical, physical and social capacities through active and interactive participation.

People will learn:

– How to do basic movements to play the capoeira game

– How to play the percussion instruments like drums, tambourines and the musical bowl the berimbau

– Sing capoeira songs in Brazilian Portuguese

SCF: What can people who attended Seattle Children’s Festival expect from Capoeira?

SDR: For the performance we will be presenting the capoeira angola movements in a circle followed by the music and songs in Brazilian Portuguese. Ten musicians will be playing the instruments and two performers will be doing the movements in the middle of the circle. The performance is going to be an interactive act with the public when they will be invited to sing and play some of the musical instruments with us in a ” learning through practice” process. The capoeira rhythms are easy to learn and fun to dance to, and will be demonstrated during our performance.

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