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Capoeira

What is Capoeira…? 

Capoeira is a dance, a martial art and a form of Brazilian cultural expression, but above all it is a game!

Developed in Brazil by African slaves, capoeira today includes dance, martial arts, acrobatics and music.

Capoeira is a very physical activity, but one where each individual can find their own place, style and expression.

Want to…

* Get fit?

*Have fun?

* Make friends?

* Learn incredible new skills?

* Be more confident?

* Discover a new culture?

Then capoeira is for you! Why not try a class near you?

Capoeira classes and workshops will help you discover and develop the following elements:

Strength; capoeira uses all the large muscle groups in the body providing an excellent way of developing all round strength.

Flexibility; capoeira kicks and movements develop flexibility through movement and most participants see a marked improvement in their flexibility through regular training.

Play; capoeira is a game played amongst friends! It’s a great social activity where you can meet new people and make new friends!

Dance; fluidity between attacking and defensive movements and connection with your partner make capoeira an improvised dance and give the chance for each one to find their own style and way of moving.

Fight; underneath the dance and the game aspects of capoeira the fight is hidden, this fight is one of skill and technique which is adapted to suit each personality and body type. You will learn attacking, defensive and take down movements and how to escape beautifully and fall well!

Communication; Capoeira is a physical language which people all over the world are learning and developing. We talk about capoeira as being a physical conversation of questions and responses. Once you have learnt the basics you will be able to communicate with capoeiristas (capoeira players) all over the world, regardless of age, nationality, language or skill level!

Acrobatics; one of the most show stopping elements of capoeira is the acrobatic skill of more advanced practitioners and the way they can integrate these acrobatic skills within the game. But don’t be intimidated, acrobatics are a bonus and there are many different levels which mean you can start with a cartwheel and take it from there!

Rhythm; is integral to capoeira – and yes, you’ve got it, even if you think you haven’t! Capoeira will help you make the link between body, rhythm and music.

Music & Singing; are an integral part of capoeira, songs are simple and melodic and sung as a chorus and you will learn to play a variety of instruments from the capoeria ‘bateria’ (orchestra.)

History & Culture; the history of the development of capoeira is integral in understanding it and the way it has developed over the years, there are many sites and books that discuss the history of capoeira, but the oral tradition prevails the strongest and stories are passed from mestres to students over the years.  Capoeira cannot be isolated as an art form and is part of a wider Brazilian cultural expression of community which also includes samba de roda, maculêlê, afro-brazillian dance, puxada de rede and others; you will gradually learn and explore these aspects through regular classes.

Our group and Our Mestres

Contra-Mestre Piolho is a long-time student of Mestre Chicote and a member of the international Capoeira group ‘Cordão de Ouro’ led by Grande Mestre Suassuna…

Grupo Cordão de Ouro“Adeus Bahia zum zum zum cordão de ouro…”

The Cordão de Ouro capoeira association was created in Brazil in 1967 by Mestre Suassuna, together with Mestre Brasilia. It was during a popular music festival at that time that they heard the song, “Adeus Bahia zum zum zum cordão de ouro…” on the radio. Both having in their heads the idea of opening a capoeira academy, they decided to use the name ‘Cordão de Ouro’ in homage to Besouro Cordão de Ouro – a historical capoeira figure who lived in the era before capoeira split into the angola and regional strands. Sharing the same space Mestre Suassuna would teach capoeira regional and Mestre Brasilia, capoeira angola. After a short time, Mestre Brasilia decided to found his own group, São Bento Grande. Under the guidance of Mestre Suassuna Grupo Cordão de Ouro continued to grow and can now be found in countries the world over!

Mestre Suassuna“Eu venho de longe, venho de Itabuna, jogo capoeira, meu nome é Suassuna…”

Mestre Suassuna, (Reinaldo Ramos Suassuna) started capoeira as a little boy when an illness affecting his legs obliged him to take up a physical activity. Growing up in capoeira in Bahia, he learnt from street rodas and from the great Mestres of the time in Itabuna and Salvador. In 1965 he moved to São Paulo and founded Cordão de Ouro with Mestre Brasilia in 1967.

Mestre Chicote” É
 porque eu sou capoeira…”

Mestre Chicote began Capoeira at the age of ten by playing in the streets. Then, noticed by Mestre Matias (today in Switzerland), he started to train with the group ‘Berimbau de Ouro’. In 1996, he became part of group Cordão De Ouro and has never looked back. He has traveled all over Brazil, gaining knowledge from many Mestres and enriching his diversity in the art and culture of Capoeira. Throughout this he’s maintained a successful Cordão De Ouro branch in Patos de Minas (Minas Gerais). This social and educational project makes it possible for teenagers to be fully invested and to reach high levels, such as Contra Mestre Piolho, Professors Tizil, Tineca, Dino and many others who, in Chicote’s absence, have taken charge of the overseeing of this project and are continuing to make it a grand success.

Once Chicote arrived in the USA in 2001, he settled in Iowa, where he taught Capoeira for the PLAIN club of the local university (Cedar Falls). This is a project founded and maintained by Jill Hartleip, Instrutora Pulginha. He continued to contribute to the establishment of Cordão De Ouro in the Midwest by assisting with the arrival of Contra Mestre Denis (2003) and Contra Mestre Xara (2004). He then made his way west to California where he established other schools being led by his teachers in LA, Oakland, Emeryville, and Vallejo. Professors Berinjela and Xangô, Instructors Preá and Zumbi are currently leading this branch of his schools.

A subsequent course of events led him to France where he settled in Paris in March 2005. He began sharing his knowledge and his experience with the pupils of The Association of Capoeira Cordão De Ouro – Paris. He invited Contra Mestre Piolho to join him in France. Since their arrival in France, the Cordão de Ouro capoeira – Paris branch has flourished and enjoyed several successful events and a substantially growing contingent of students who organise and celebrate two main annual international capoeira events, ‘Passo a Frente’ and ‘Rasteria Malandra’.