Mixing music, dance and martial arts

Capoeira Batizado, the Brazilian martial arts form

Capoeiristas showcase their moves in the plaza.
Photo: Stephen Ragalie

Performing cartweels, flips and sweep kicks, the capoeiristas played the game, moving faster and slower with the rhythm of Brazilian music.

At UIC’s 2nd annual Capoeira Batizado, the Brazilian martial arts form was on display for the UIC community to learn. Capoeira Akebelan, a student organization, hosted lessons, live demonstrations and more.

“It is a Brazilian musical and martial art form with roots in Africa,” said coordinator Vernon Lindsay, president of Capoeira Akebelan and a doctoral student in education policy.

Capoeira originally was practiced by slaves in Brazil as a martial arts form.

“Music and dance were added to it to camouflage it as a dance,” he said. “It was something they could do to keep their minds off of work and it became a pastime.”

The art form was showcased at a roda Sept. 30 in the Lecture Center Plaza. A semicircle of capoeiristas of various experience levels showed off their moves as musicians played Brazilian instruments, including the agogo, berimbau, atabaque and reco-reco.

Experienced capoeiristas invited observers from the crowd to join the roda to learn introductory moves.

In the roda, two capoeiristas played the martial arts game at a time. The master of the roda decides when the game is over and capoeiristas switch out and restart. Observers and participants without instruments clapped in time with the Portuguese call-and-response songs.

Capoeiristas from around the world attended the event, including 50-year capoeira veteran Mestre Acordeon, head of the United Capoeira Association, from Salvador, Brazil. When the Roda was coming to a close, Acordeon told the growing group of observers to move closer while he spoke.

“Capoeira is not only what you have seen here today, it is a way of life,” he said.

Capoeira classes are held from 3-4 p.m. Tuesdays and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Fridays in the Student Recreation Facility.

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