Capoeira is an art form that defies description. It is a fight, it is dance, a game. It is creativity, intuition, grace, strength, history and tradition. To understand the movement, music, and magnetism of Capoeira, we must explore the art's fascinating tradition and mysterious history. Capoeira is a story of triumph and freedom.
Rooted in the rich cultures brought to Brazil by enslaved Africans, Capoeira's history, is a subject of much debate. Capoeira’s history and its legends were passed down orally from former slaves who passed the art to their students. It is teachings of these old masters and a few surviving documents that tell the story of this singular art.
Capoeira's origin dates back about 500 years to the beginnings of Brazil's slave trade period. Throughout the 488 years of slave trade in Brazil, various tribes from West and Central Africa met and intermingled in the senzalas (slave quarters) and in the quilombos (escape slave nations). From this mix of African cultures came a melding of traditions, rituals, rites of passage, food, dance, language and religion. Slowly, a new Afro-Brazilian identity with a distinct set of cultural practices was born. With this new identity came the development of Capoeira, a practice that would years later be referred to as the art of liberation.