Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Bali May 1-5, 2024

Yoga Dance Music Healing

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Spinning around with Capoeira

Imagine taking all the energy and muscles of a tall, tanned yogi and compressing them into the body of a smaller, smilier Indonesian martial artist. Add in traditional Brazilian beats, some acrobatics and a large dose of mischief and you’ve got Noko, the local Capoeira superstar.

Clearly it’s not size that matters, it’s what you do with it. And watching Noko teach, perform and play Capoeira is enough to get you clapping, dancing and wanting to throw your body around in ways you never thought possible. No matter how new or practised people were at this traditional fusion of martial arts and Brazilian dance, everybody looks hot when they do Capoeira.

Beginning with some simple rhythms we were suddenly dancing, smiling and clapping hands in no time. Accompanied by live drums, tambourine and the berimbau – an instrument made of a single string and a gourd which produces a distinctive twanging sound – Noko and his band of merry pranksters began to teach us the simple movements of Capoeira.

And if doing cartwheels, little hopping handstands and turns was not enough we also learnt some simple catchy songs in Portuguese to sing along.

Soon enough it was time to put everything we had learnt together. With instruments in the middle we formed two circles or rodas (pronounced hoda) and began to play. With members of the Capoeira Bali school to help us look good we began to play the dance of Capoeira.

Spinning kicks, cartwheels, ducks and weaves in just the right time, cheeky grins, mis-moves and mischief had us all entertained and the lively, friendly atmosphere had me feel more than encouraged to jump in and give it a go. No one was too good or too uncoordinated and everyone is welcome in the roda.

Written by : Russel Price


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