Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Doing the Capoeira Maculele in Hayes Valley
On Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley Saturday afternoon, a group of capoeira students formed a circle called a "Roda"...
...and began singing, clapping and playing instruments...
...while a pair of men began the Brazilian mixture of martial arts, gymnastics and dancing that is called Capoeira.
From the logos on their T-shirts, the group seemed to be part of a school South of Market where Professor Mico above teaches the Maculele version of the art. He was leading the call-and-response of the singing and playing the single-string and gourd instrument called the berimbau.
Capoeira started as a self-defense mechanism in the 16th century among African slaves in Brazil, and was outlawed in the late 19th century when slavery was finally ended in that country, partly because the authorities felt ill-equipped to deal with well-trained martial artists.
There has been a huge resurgence in the second half of the 20th century, with schools popping up all over the world. In Brazil, meanwhile, "Capoeira is officially considered an intangible cultural heritage of Brazil," and students from around the globe travel to that country for instruction.