The art of capoeira dancing was born out of oppression.
The roots of the dance are believed to have started when African slaves were brought to Brazil. The slaves created the practice of capoeira to disguise a combat art form as a dance. The fighting skills they learned were meant to enable them to fight against slavers.
“Capoeira has aspects of fighting or self-defense. It began when people wanted to run away from slavery and go into the mountains. They had to fight against oppression so capoeira gives them the skills,” said Jairo Martins, whose capoeira name is Professor Caju.
He said the dance helps improve motor-skill co-ordination, balance and physical strength. It consists of two dancers crouching and circling each other and performing a number of attacks and counterattacks that aren’t landed on the opponent.
For more than six years Martins has taught the art form in his Victoria Capoeira School. He’s travelling to Nanaimo to meld capoeira with flamenco dancing during Crimson Coast Dance Society’s Body Talk Project. The project fuses both styles during a community dance workshop held Monday (March 18) to March 22.
The dance society hosts two sessions: one for teens from 1-4 p.m. during the week and an evening session open to all ages from 6-8:30 p.m. The workshops are held at Vibe Studio, located at 2-1969 Bowen Rd. Registration is $25 and can be done online at www.crimsoncoastdance.org or people can call 250-716-3230.
Martins said he isn’t sure how the two art forms will meld together but he’s curious to find out.
The Body Talk workshops are overseen by the Body Talk Crew, a group of youths who gain valuable skills by working with mentors in the arts community to create an event.
“It’s really interesting because it gives you a whole different perspective of what we think about,” said Body Talk Crew member Max Goering.
The youth said it helps give them confidence, leadership and management skills and teaches them about stage design, lighting and other aspects to hosting performances.
Jessina Mureseanu , a first-year crew participant, said it taught her about the type of commitment it takes to work on a large-scale project.
The performance takes place March 23 at the Port Theatre.
“There are a lot of invisible layers in both of the forms,” said Mariko Ihara, Body Talk Crew facilitator.
The event at the Port Theatre begins at 7:30 p.m. and opens with a performance by community members who participated in the workshops.
The second portion is a performance by Flamenco Rosario Dance called Mis Hermanas.
Tickets are $40/$35 members and groups or $15 for students and are available by calling 250-754-8550, at the box office, or www.porttheare.com.