Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Positive Energy for 2009

Don't front; you know if you grew up in the 90's you've watched Only the Strong at least once. It's still the most notable American film with capoeira at its core. You can't forget the fluid kicks, pseudo-synchronized movement, that song and well; guys with their shirts off; most notably Marc Dacascos. Hollywood kind of got it right but they didn't dig too deep. History is hardly ever the point of those guy or gal with a heart of gold saves inner-city kids flicks that were popular back in the day.

Capoeira is a vital part of Afro-Brazilian culture. For slaves capoeira was a tool used to preserve one's culture; to entertain and uplift the spirits of communities. Some believe it to be a secret martial art developed by free Maroons to keep Portuguese slave traders at bay.

The Brazilian government was so fearful of capoeira that it was banned in 1890. It wasn't until the 1930s that Mestre Bimba convinced the government of its cultural value. Today people all over the world are getting in on the action one way or another. On random days when the weather is agreeable you can watch capoeiristas at Union Square in New York City. If you're more of a couch potato there are almost 50,000 capoeira videos on YouTube. After watching some of the videos you'll definitely want to do a couple of kicks yourself! Men, women -- even pregnant ones -- and children regardless of age participate.

Capoeira is unique because of its fusion of dance, music and martial arts.
The tempo of the music played during a capoeira exhibition determines the nature of the game. If the music is slow, capoeira resembles a fluid waltz rather than a fight, but with fast-paced music it's more of a battle. While there are circle kicks, slapping movements and acrobatics, capoeira is no longer meant to be used as a weapon. The purpose of the game is to trap your opponent while staying in step with them and countering their moves. Capoeira is more than a martial art. It's a celebration of history, music, passion, dance and struggle.

Next Thursday, Ladies Lotto New York members and their friends can experience the energy and action that is capoeira.

Our guide to capoeira, Leticia Monteiro (a.k.a. Formiguinha) is a certified pilates instructor and ranked Brazilian martial artist. She'll briefly discuss the history of capoeira and get us ready to face the night with an introductory 45-minute class.

We'll provide light fare and non-alcoholic beverages. You'll bring your voice, an open mind and your energy. Axe!

Thursday, January 29th

Essex Street Academy
350 Grand Street
Bet. Ludlow & Essex
New York, NY

$20 in advance


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