Venue: Hamilton House, InAlignment Studio 2
Class Time: 20:15
Monday and Thursday
Class Duration: 2:00
Full Price: £7
Falling is a real option at this Bristol Capoeira Angola session. Probably no other dance engages your body and also your mind as much as Capoeira: here your arms are almost as important as your legs since you are supposed to stand on them to dodge some of the hits or, let’s be honest, just for the fun of it. The other dancer will improvise to outsmart you, trying to catch you off guard, trying now and then to sweep your feet. It’s quite thrilling but not dangerous at all. This is a Fight Club where you don’t want to hurt your opponent, a dance for very special fighters. A truly intense recreation of the Afro-Brazilian rituals through lots of humor, live music and theatre.
“A photographer could take a picture at any given moment, and whatever the Capoerista is doing must look like a moment in a dance”, Bob, one of the Bristol Capoeira Angola teachers, explains while the more experienced guys start moving in circles. Beginners like myself are guided every Thursday all the way to make sure we understand from the start why this is so addictive to do and so beautiful to watch: “It helps to think of Capoeira like a martial art. All the moves are about that. But you try to disguise what you are doing. Deception is part of the game”.
No-man-left-behind is the philosophy here. Bob looks so relaxed as he shows us a few quick moves. It looks pretty natural for him after 15 years of practicing Capoeira Angola in Bristol. He really enjoys it. “It is transformative” he says. “I have become more confident, in capoeira and in life. A total change”.
There is a long way for me till I get there. Let’s focus on being smooth. “This is not karate, you don’t have to be quick. You are exposing yourself. Nobody will necessarily do these turns and somersaults in a real confrontation. You have to be artful”. I have a look at two guys practicing. Moving in slow-motion, they warm up little by little. As they get more confident, the play starts and it gains speed, both challenging each other and cheering at their best moments. As Bob says, that is Malandragem: the art of understanding what the other is doing, to do a better move before him. It implies being on the ball and being a bit cheeky, something that Brazilian folklore and samba lyrics celebrate.
After an hour of dancing at the Bristol Capoeira Angola class, everyone grabs a musical instrument. Ollie gives some instruction to get the berimbaus going with their continuous pattern and we add percussion with our pandeiros and atabaques. I get some explanation of what to do and we start a song, a mesmeric amalgam that works perfectly on its own. Reading the Brazilian lyrics Ollie writes on the whiteboard, everyone practices one of two lines, free style. One sings the lead and we all sing the chorus, like a question and its answer.Bristol Capoeira: The Best Part
The best part is when we shout by turns, one by one, and the rhythm keeps going. I also have a go and feel a bit self-conscious but great at the same time. I didn’t even know it was there, but a little barrier inside me starts to break down. It is probably good for my dancing. It is definitely good for me.
“Are you coming next week?” someone asks. They’re also preparing a meeting to play some music aside from the normal lessons. Beginners, they insist, are welcome. One of the younger students is exhausted but looks pretty happy. “I just like it. I’ve quit all the other things I was involved in but not Capoeira”, he says, expecting me to understand.
Hamilton House, InAlignment Studio 2
Stokes Croft (above the Canteen)
Added by: DMACuk
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