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The hidden history of capoeira: A collision of cultures in the Brazilian battle dance

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Talmon-Chvaicer,Maya (Author), Sobel,Mechal, (Foreword)
Book, Whole
Publication Date:
Austin: University of Texas Austin, TX, USA
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Music and dance
[Unedited] An in-depth study and cultural history of the development and meaning of capoeira, a Brazilian battle dance and national sport, which has become popular all over the world. First brought to Brazil by African slaves and first documented in the late 18th c., capoeira has undergone many transformations as it has diffused throughout Brazilian society and beyond, taking on a multiplicity of meanings for those who participate in it and for the societies in which it is practiced. Three major cultures inspired capoeira—the Congolese (the historic area known today as Congo-Angola), the Yoruban, and the Catholic Portuguese cultures. The evolution of capoeira is traced through successive historical eras with a dual perspective, depicting capoeira as it was experienced, observed, and understood by both Europeans and Africans, as well as by their descendants. This dual perspective uncovers many covert aspects of capoeira that have been repressed by the dominant Brazilian culture. This study reclaims the African origins and meanings of capoeira, while also acknowledging the many ways in which Catholic-Christian culture has contributed to it.