WHAT IS CAPOEIRA?
Capoeira[kapuˈejɾɐ] or [kaˈpwɐjɾɐ]) is often characterized as a "fight-dance" and was developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil as a way to gain liberation by literally fighting for their freedom. Their martial training was disguised as 'dance and merriment', often ocurring following mandatory attendance at church, so the tradition is to wear white.
Capoeira was first documented in the 16 century, however many customs are rooted in African tradition. The act of capoeira, or capoeiragem, was criminalized until 1892 and was associated with 'the lower classes' or 'ruffians' at the time.
Capoeira was later recognized as a site of cultural heritage by Brazil's Ministry of Sport and Recreation, after Mestre Bimba formalized academies to 'bring capoeira up from the lower classes.' Capoeira continues to be a liberating art through movement, music, and community.
ASCAB is the acronym for Associação Santista de Capoeira Areia Branca, meaning "the Association for Santista Capoeira of the White Sand." The Santista style of capoeira is characterized by utilitarian movements based in the streets of Brazil, in contrast to formal academies that are sometimes more regimented or feature floeiros, which are beautiful movements in the game. Capoeiristas who play this way are often close to each other and are said to 'rain kicks' in the roda, where capoeira is played.
ASCAB was founded by Mestre Corisco, who taught Mestre Bandeira, who taught Mestre Doutor, who taught Contra Mestre Dentista, who is teaching Formada Mião. We give thanks to our ancestors who have passed this tradition and knowledge through generations so that we can now learn this art form. Iê vive capoeira!
capoeira kanô was established in honor of baseball team from Taiwan that brought together Japanese, Chinese, and Native Taiwanese individuals. Capoeira kanô's group logo is based on the Formosan flag from 1895. Formada Mião's trains with Contra Mestre Dentista's Grupo Unidade (Unity), based in Cleveland, OH.
Mião (Lauren Mascari) graduated as a Formada (also known as Profesora) in September 2020, at which time she received ASCAB's blessing to teach others. She started capoeira in 2012, but a decade earlier she went to State as a Level 10 gymnast and competed at Nationals for Level 9 the year prior, placing 20th for the Balance Beam.
Since then, she/they completed several half marathons, the Lakefront Marathon in 2017, and the Door County Sprint Triathlon in 2019. As you may have gathered, movement is one of her favorite forms of healing.
On May 11th 2021, Formada Mião successfully defended her dissertation on the topic of Capoeira, cultural healing, and identity to explore three research questions:
What aspects of identity are most important for capoeiristas?
What aspects of capoeira are therapeutic, or healing over time?
What meaningful cultural traditions are practiced by capoeiristas?
This project was a qualitative study, featuring 27 interviews including both group leaders and members. Participants represented:
8 different capoeira groups
6 different geographic regions
Average age: 33.7
Average time in capoeira: 10.9 years
Results indicate that participants experienced healing
within themselves, respective capoeira groups, the greater
landscape of capoeira, and through rituals and traditions
established by our ancestors (see figure).
Formada Mião is planning to present a brief synopsis and
virtually host a Question & Answer session about this project
in June 2021, so stay tuned!
april 17 & 24, 2021
Formada Mião - and special guest Sombrinha - provided virtual instruction for the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's TRIO mini-course program for about 30 children ages 10-12. Class discussions focused upon COMMUNITY and RESILIENCE, and included elements of music and movement!
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
ANDREW, Mini-Course Staff
Thank you!! This class was so enjoyable!
STUDENTS, Mini-Course Program
That was funnnn
thank you this was awesome
I learned the new song
I learned the new movements - that was fun
LONDAN, Advisor for the Mini-Course Program at UW-Milwaukee
Thank you for your awesome instruction, it was enjoyable and engaging! We greatly appreciate your Capoeira expertise...we look forward to bringing you back...THANKS A TON!
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR CLASS?
A white shirt and white pants (any brand). If you want to be official, you can purchase the class shirt here. Funds raised will be used to purchase instruments for our group, such as an atabaque, pandeiro, reco reco, agôgô, and more berimbaus!
WHAT WILL WE DO IN CLASS?
Classes consist of physical movement, but most people do not realize how important music is for capoeira. Get ready to put your ego aside and challenge yourself in new ways by singing, clapping, and by learning some Português!
ISN'T CAPOEIRA A BUNCH OF FLIPS?
On television and for performances you'll often see flips, but they are not actually a helpful skill when fighting for your life. They are expressive, and very cool to look at, but are not foundational to playing capoeira. So, even if you have a physical limitation, you can still play capoeira and contribute to the group!
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
Wear your uniform (white shirt and pants), bring a water bottle and small towel. A notebook and writing utensil will also be handy when learning new songs. Other than that, just show up!
IS IT JUST FOR ADULTS?
No! Anyone age 3 or older can join us for class. Because of the dynamic nature of capoeira, all classes are amenable to your skill level, whether it's your first class or you have10 years of experience. The great thing about capoeira is that there is ALWAYS something new to learn.
BUT WHAT IF I'M TOO OLD?
Again, anyone can come play. There is always something you can work on, and anything that we are learning can be adjusted.
WHAT ARE THE CLASS EXPECTATIONS?
1. be respectful. bullying, harassment, offensive comments, and intentional violence will not be tolerated.
2. try your best. we will probably do something that is not your forté, whether it's using your upper body, lower body, being flexible, singing, holding a rhythm or other things. we know that everyone has both weaknesses and strengths.
3. remember that this takes time. mestres did not become mestres overnight. they have dedicated their lives to this art form, so be patient with the process. consistency is key.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Drop-in classes are $15 or the monthly rate is $50. Your first class is FREE.
HOW DO I GO TO A VIRTAL CLASS?
1. Complete the registration form
2. Pay for drop-in/monthly class
3. Click on the class link & enter the week's password (sent 10 mins before class)
4. Have fun!
WORKSHOPS & PERFORMANCES
Capoeira can be brought to your organization for special events such as global enrichment, culturally-based programming, and even as a different form of professional development that emphasizes team work, trust, and non-verbal communication.
60-90 minute workshops are offered to groups of 2-30 individuals and typically occur in person. However, due to COVID-19 all classes and workshops are being offered virtually or outdoors. Inquire here to bring Formada Mião to your organization.