What is Capoeira?

It’s a dance! It’s a fight! It’s a complex movement practice and a martial art! Really, capoeira is unique and hard to describe. But once you try it, you’ll be hooked! It’s a game that will challenge and reward you in unexpected ways. Kicks, cartwheels, backbends and flips–capoeira’s got it all!

The history of capoeira can be traced back to African musical and movement practices found in the senzalas (slave quarters) and quilombos (independent republics) of colonial Brazil. Today, capoeira is internationally known as a martial art unlike any other – one that seamlessly incorporates elements of dance, gymnastics, music, song, and Brazilian culture. Since 2014, capoeira is recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

Rooted in Afro-Brazilian culture and experience, capoeira is a tree with many branches. Capoeira Nagô embraces the continuing evolution of this multi-faceted and unique art form, martial art, and sport. As we conceive it, capoeira is a high energy, athletic discipline open to all who are willing and able to learn.

Capoeira is played in a circle, or roda, to the sound of music. Capoeiristas sing and clap to songs inspired by the history and practice of capoeira. The two players in the middle of the roda feed off the musical energy and throw kicks, dodge, and move to the sound of the berimbau.