Capoeira Batuque - Freedom of Expression
by John Nathan
Capoeira is an elegant martial art form which combines dance, music and acrobatics. Dating back to the 1600’s, it was first practiced by Afro-Brazilian slaves – primarily on sugar cane plantations – as a means of self defense, as well as cultural and spiritual expression. Driven by the drum and the berimbau (a single-string and percussion instrument), capoeiristas enter the competitive circle and “play” each other – demonstrating athletic moves and imploring shrewd strategies – in an effort to topple their opponents.
Today, thousands of capoeiristas all over the world practice this art form and use it as a tool to unite men, women and children of all cultures and backgrounds into a global community.
Mestre Amen Santo– a native of Salvador Bahia in Brazil– is a recognized Mestre de Capoeira, master drummer, and is the Artistic Director of the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center in Culver City, CA. Mestre Amen first came to the United States after he was invited to perform capoeira at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall in 1984. Shortly after the historical performance, he made his way to Southern California where he immediately saw a need for the representation of Afro-Brazilian culture in Los Angeles’ arts’ scene.
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