Capoeira, Capoeira!

Capoeira, Capoeira!
  My nephew Noah, an intensely bright five year old who lives in Atlanta, is awesome. He never fails to amaze me, whether it’s with his incredible intelligence, or his sunny disposition. On a recent trip home, he greeted me with his usual cheery smile and warm hug, then proceeded to show me his ginga. I stood there with my mouth agape wondering what kind of chocolate he’d gotten into. “What’s going on, Noah?” I asked him. “Aunt Prissy, I’m doing the ginga. This is Capoeira.” “What’s Capoeira?” I asked, embarrassed; I could barely even pronounce the word. “It’s this!” And just like that Noah started spinning on his head right there on my Mom’s living room floor. Noah’s parents, my sister Deirdre and her husband Emanuel, practice Capoeira also. They informed me that Noah is the youngest person in Mestre Robson DeJesus’s class at Abba Capoeira. My other sister Janay does the ginga, too. By the way, the ginga, as I’ve come to learn, is the basic Capoeira move in which the player shifts his body from side to side. (In Brazil one plays Capoeira, rather than practices it.). Capoeira has turned into a real family affair back at home, and now I understand why. As they further explained to me, Capoeira started off in Brazil as a dance for slaves, who tried to mask their fighting by incorporating it with dance moves. To the slave-owners, it looked like harmless dancing. The slaves played music during Capoeira sessions to teach the dancers the rhythmic heart of the art and also to mask its power. However, eventually, the slave-owners caught on to what they were doing and outlawed Capoerira. Luckily, it has been preserved nonetheless. For many people, it’s still only dance, but for others, it is martial arts; and still for others, it’s both. In either case, Capoeira is now an international form of artistic expression that’s gaining massive attention in many countries. Still scratching my head an hour later, and reminiscing of the days when I had aspired to be like Bruce Lee, I asked Noah if he would like to come back to France and stay with me for a couple of weeks. His answer: “Only if there’s a place for me to practice Capoeira.” Ok. I decided that I had to come back to France and find a Capoeira centre so that I could get Noah over here to visit. I’ve found several locations, in which the people have been extremely kind and helpful. That’s another thing about Capoeria: there seems to be a real brotherhood, as if the people who practice it are one big family. It’s very social, as well as being a beautiful art. With all the handstands, cartwheels, spins and body twists, all done to great music, it looks incredibly fun and very relaxing. And it’s Brazilian, too, so you can’t go wrong, can you? There are several martial arts centres in Paris that teach and practice Capoeira. I’ve listed just a few of the addresses so that if you, like my nephew, are visiting Paris, you’ll have a place to continue your art. And now I’ll go and call Noah and tell him that he can indeed come back to France again and hang out with me. I can reassure him that there are plenty of centres here in Paris where he can practice his ginga. Ecole des Danses Latines et Tropicales170 bis, rue du Fbg St Antoine 75012 ParisEntrance: 40, rue de CiteauxM° Faidherbe Chaligny (ligne 8) ou Reuilly Diderot (ligne 1)Phone: [email protected]  Le Temple des Arts Martiaux21, rue de l’amiral Roussin75015 PARISTél: 01 43 06 38 87Fax: 01 44 49 08 05 E-mail: [email protected] A true Southern Belle who grew up in Alabama, Priscilla Lalisse now lives with her French husband and son in Paris.
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