Posts Tagged ‘capoiera’

For a lot of people here in Washington, DC, capoeira is virtually unknown. When friends and colleauges ask me what it is, I usually try to describe it as a mixture between dance, martial arts and gymnastics.

So what happens in a typical capoeira class? Instruction will vary depending on the teacher, your group’s style, and even what part of the world you are practicing. In our class, we use many instruction techniques passed down from the mestres of capoeira in Bahia, Brazil as our instructor, Contra Mestre Bomba, grew up in Bahia and taught capoeira for many years in Brazil, until moving to DC a few years ago.

Before class starts, many of the students arrive early to start stretching. We will do stretches during and after the class as well, so if it is your preference to stretch beforehand to get loosened up first then plan on arriving a few minutes early.

Usually, we start the class with a light jog. Then, we warm up our arms and legs with different movements across the floor: crab walk, bear walk, hopping, high knees, and so on. If we are doing a class in a smaller space, we will do jumping jacks and different kinds of jumps to get warmed up. When the weather permits, we will go on a short run outdoors, generally up to 10 minutes of running time.

It is crucial to get warmed up properly because when you’re practicing capoeira, you are using muscles you probably haven’t used in a while, if ever. You will be working your legs, arms, and core throughout the remainder of the class so a good warmup will prepare your muscles for performing drills and practicing your technique later in the class. Plus, the warmup will improve your cardio, get your heart rate up, and help prevent soreness after class.

After our hearts have started pounding and our bodies are warm, we will do some leg stretches to work on flexibility. These stretches are based on many of the basic defensive movements of capoeira such as esquiva lateral and cocorinha.

Then, we’ll start with some basic moves of capoeira: au (cartwheel) and role (roll). Most beginning students haven’t done a cartwheel since they were a kid. So we practice them to build strength and balance and to perfect our technique since the au is a basic building  block of capoeira.

If you’re just starting out, the important thing to remember is to get used to the movement and work on your technique. As you continue practicing capoeira, your au will get better and better.

If you’re having trouble with your au, this video has some good tips:

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Currently Children’s Capoeira Classes are on Summer Break. Please join our Facebook Group to receive notification when they return or contact us.

capoeira-kids-classes3Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance and performed to musical instruments and traditional Brazilian songs. It is comprised of specific offensive and defensive movements and, in contrast to other martial arts, the participant is constantly in motion. Students will learn the movements of capoeira along with the music and songs traditionally used in the sport.

Contra Mestre Bomba has been teaching the art of Capoeira in Bahia, Brazil and more recently, in Washington, DC,  for more than 20 years. Class is conducted largely in Portuguese, however students can easily learn by example. Children learning Spanish in their classes will have an opportunity to practice their vocabulary as well.

capoeira-kids-classes6

  • $10 donation per child.
  • Beginners should wear loose fitting clothing and light footwear.
  • Recommended for ages 8 to 18
  • Classes are located at BloomBars, 3222 11th St NW – near the Columbia Heights Metro

Great news for the new year!

First: Saturday classes have moved to All Souls Church at 1500 Harvard St NW! Same time (10:30 am – 12:00 pm) but just a few blocks away from the old space! This change is effective immediately and all Saturday classes starting January 7th will be at this location.

Second: With the move to All Souls Church, we are now able to offer weekday classes! Join us Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 PM to 8 PM starting next week – Tuesday, January 10!

For the exciting new year and exciting new space, we are offering a special introductory price. All classes are $10 each from January 10 through January 31!  Cash and credit cards are accepted on the day of the class. No advance registration is required, just bring a form of payment to the class and you’re ready to ginga!

We also have a new, easier way to pay! For extra savings, buy a month pass for $80 for all classes during the month of January.

Be sure to be there on Saturday morning to take full advantage of this great deal! Of course, you will still be able to buy the month pass after Saturday, but getting it this Saturday will give you the best savings for January.

Note: Classes on Sundays remain unchanged! 11:00 am – 12:00 pm at BloomBars every Sunday. 

Goodbye, DIW!

This past Saturday, Barro Vermelho Capoeira (Washington DC) joined forces with Grupo Candeias (Alexandria VA) for an exhibition all about Brazil at American University.

A project of AU student Mason Drastal, Brazil: An Exhibition On South America’s Emerging Powerhouse featured a talk about Afro-Brazilian Educational Justice by Dr. Clarence Lusane, live bossa nova music by Para Ti, a samba performance from our friends at Zezeh Brazil, and a participatory demonstration from Barro Vermelho and Grupo Candeias!

We had a great time talking to AU students and teaching them about the tradition of capoeira and its connection to the history and culture of Brazil. Remember, students – your first class is free! Stay tuned here and on Facebook for news about our new weekday classes.

We would like to thank Grupo Candeias VA and Mason Drastal for helping us and allowing us to exhibit! Also a special thank-you to students Ashley and Dante for joining Contra Mestre Bomba in the demonstration.

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