From Brazil to Bali: Capoeira hits the Festival
Yoga is my practice. It is what moves me through the challenges. It is my discipline. As well as my profession. Capoeira however, is my passion. So to be at a festival which is immersed in yoga AND has the blessing of having Mestre Bira and his group from Resistencia here from Brazil (via New Zealand) has left me feeling high on live and totally in love with all movement.
Capoeira originates from Bahia in Brazil. It was birthed during the 350 years of slavery, during which the slaves from Angola and the Congo developed a style of traditional fighting and disguised it as a dance to avoid suspicion. Over the years it because a symbol of the slaves resistance and birthed a whole new culture which became known as capoeira – an art combing sequences, acrobatics, music and fighting techniques. It is truly beautiful and a skill which (dare I say it) demands more mental strength and focus than the most intense yoga practice I have ever done.
This afternoon’s workshop brought together capoeirstas from all of Indonesia with the Zungu group from Seminyak coming full force as well as one teacher from Jakarta. It was gift to see the groups welcome each other and pick up their instruments to share their dedication to the tradition.
Mestre Bira began by teaching the ginga which is foundation for all the movements and connection to the rhythm of the music. After that came the au demonstrated by the youngest capoeirsta who was only seven years old. He held perfect form and led the way for the rest of us to cartwheel down the lawn pavilion while keeping eyes locked with our partner. Several kicks later around 60 people were gathered in a Roda (circle) clapping and singing in Portuguese as we each took turn to “play” what we had just learned. The energie was high and the power of a collective circle making the music fed the centre as beginners and teachers alike shared the dialogue of movement which this art is.
It came to a close with a Samba De Roda which is the Brazilian way of dancing samba – in a really tight small circle, demanding intimacy and bringing a jovial feel of freedom as men and women took it in turns to bump any competitor out of the Roda to show off their moves. Samba for me kind of translates to moving your feet (and hence your butt) as fast as you can. Like capoeira, it’s still a work in process!
An incredible workshop and full gratitude for the years of wisdom that collectively gathered to share the beauty and power of Capoeira.
Mestre Bira will be teaching three more workshops – Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as a set of five workshops after the BSF here in Ubud. For more information check out http://www.nayaubud.com/
Written by : Bex Tyrer