Capoeira as With Any Style of Dance Term Paper

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Capoeira

As with any style of dance that stems back a century or more in time, controversy exists about the exact origination of the Afro-Brazilian dance and martial arts called capoeira. However, scholars do agree that it is a "strategic blend of fight and dance" (Delgado & Munoz 21), which combines "a game, a fight, and a dance, composed of kicks, acrobatics, and traditional Kongo dance movements." One does not call it "dancing" or "fighting" but rather "playing." Most, when asked to define it in a word, call it an art.

According to the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Latin and Caribbean Cultures, capoeira arose during the colonial period of the sixteenth century along with the slaves who came from Africa. As a form of self-defense and resistance, the art developed especially among the lower social classes, criminals and vagrants of the Afro-Brazilian community. It combines martial art and dance with extremely graceful flowing moves and almost choreographed sequences. The music and beat is a critical component, either in the form of songs, clapping or one or several instruments -- berimbau, pandeiro, agogo, reco-reco and atabaque. Because the slaves were forbidden to practice any of their African self-defense arts, they disguised it as a dance, and "played" the round, fluid, low-to-the-ground movements to musical beats.

To prepare for a secret attack, cover power and strength with a show of weakness and anticipate the opponent's moves were all necessary in a society of slavery and subjugation. In the quilombos, mountain settlements of escaped slaves from different parts of Africa, the residents shared cultural forms. For example, the settlement of Palmares, Brazil, eventually expanded to a community of over 20,000. These settlements were not immune to attack from the outside and thus the residents began to practice capoeira as a means to prepare for the inevitable (Rauschart 8). Some say the moves -- in which only head, hands, and feet touch the ground -- were developed to avoid dirtying the white religious clothes (Balderston, Gonzalez & Lopez). When slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, all written records of the martial art were eliminated. However, the oral tradition [END OF PREVIEW]

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Capoeira as With Any Style of Dance.  (2007, August 17).  Retrieved December 14, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/capoeira-style-dance/305459

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"Capoeira as With Any Style of Dance."  Essaytown.com.  August 17, 2007.  Accessed December 14, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/capoeira-style-dance/305459.