The movement tradition of Capoeira is rooted in the struggle for freedom. In the 16th century, African slaves were brought to Brazil. The masters did everything they could to keep the slaves from connecting to their cultures, religions or the hope for anything more than bondage. There are many stories surrounding the beginnings of Capoeira. Slaves used the playful and deceptively beautiful movements to camouflage the martial art they practiced. The game of capoeira is ruled by the music of the berimbau. At times instructions to the players are embedded within the songs. What fascinated me about Capoeira when I first saw it was the sense of community and spectacle that are inherent in the art form. As two Capoeiristas play within the centre of the Roda (the circle), a whole world seemed to be created. A moving labyrinth that shifted in fractions of a second as the players twisted and unwound their bodies. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
When I began training I couldn’t do a cartwheel. I had no stamina. I was simply determined to learn and play.