Shared Characteristics of Music and Dance Capoeira House Essay

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Capoeira and House Dance/Music

Capoeira and House Dance and Music

The slave trade between Africa and the Americas had a significant cultural impact on music and dance, which can be seen in traditional capoeira -- the martial art developed by Brazilian slaves that incorporates song and dance, as well as house dance and b-boying. These three different styles share similar characteristics that include dance moves, the dance environment, and music.

Capoeira has its roots in African foot fighting which was a culture cultivated by Brazilian slaves. Capoeira blends dance, music, rituals, and fighting, all of which have roots in Africa and in the individual tribes the slaves were abducted from. Capoeira was developed in the "senzalas" where slaves were kept ("History of Capoeira"). Traditionally, capoeira is set up as a "battle" between two individuals. In a traditional capoeira showdown, two dancers compete head to head. One of the dancers assumes the role of the slave, whereas the other assumes the role of the master, which emphasizes the context in which capoeira was developed as well as allows capoeiristas to vent their frustrations and practice the martial art (Rousseau). Capoeira quickly became recognized as a threat to white slave holders, and white society in general, and was eventually outlawed; however, this did not stop individuals from practicing the martial art-dance style.

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Capoeira was effective in concealing the martial arts aspect of its style through music and dance. Capoeira dancing takes place in a roda, a circle of composed of musicians, singers, and dancers. Forming a roda requires participation from all participants (Brown). In the roda, music is used to set the tempo of the dance. Singing, also referred to as ladainhna, provides the narrative for the dance. Singing usually incorporates a call and response element that is referred to as chula (Brown).

Essay on Shared Characteristics of Music and Dance Capoeira House Dance Assignment

Capoeira dancing is structured similarly to the call-and-response singing as the movements are both offensive and defensive. Capoeira dancing focuses on basic kicks, sweeps, and head strikes, which can be countered through evasive moves and rolls. Capoeira dancing begins with ginga, which is a triangular, rhythmic step; this step is comparable to the footwork often seen in boxing. Other basic capoeira moves include the au, which is a cartwheel move; balanca, which is a side-to-side step used to prevent the opponent from anticipating the next strike; bananeira, a handstand move; macaco, which is commonly referred to as a monkey move and is a backflip near the ground; negative, used to block an attack; role, a roll; and ponte, a backwards bend that resembles a bridge ("Main Capoeira Moves").

House dancing and b-boying share many similar elements of capoeira dance movements. The largest shared component in them all is battling for power and position within a community by displaying dominance, creativity and endurance. The same characteristics within b-boying and house dancing begin with the element of competition one on one. Like capoeira in which a roda is formed to showcase the dance, house dancing and b-boing often take place within a contained space, usually a circle also made of people, however, participation is not necessarily required and many people forming this circle are merely spectators. House dance moves are rooted in African, latin, Brazilian, soul, jazz, funk, and R&B. Additionally, individual socio-cultural backgrounds influence the dance movements. House dancing originated of 1970s disco dancing and the 1980s underground scene (Mirani). Early versions of house dance include "lofting," a dance that was sensual and incorporated spins and slides. "Lofting" was also influenced by gay culture, which had dance moves such as voguing and whacking, styles that were focused on using arm movements as an extension of dance. In house music and dance, the influence of capoeira can be seen in any movement involving competition, spins, flares, and the use of one hand and one foot on the ground… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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