Here on this site, I spend a good deal of time featuring recipes that are delicious for the whole family, but also looking for people who, like me, spread the joy of Latin culture.
Last month, I was doing just so at Holland America Cruise Line (read story here), along with Mr. Leandro Nascimento, who left Brazil in the late 1990s to practice capoeira in Palma de Majorca, Spain, as his brother was already established there.
Is capoeira a fight? A dance? A cult? A sport?
What exactly is capoeira? Capoeira is best defined as a martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. It was brought to Brazil at the beginning of the 16th century by slaves from Africa.
As of one the iconic symbols of Brazilian culture, the martial art is most present in Bahia, where the influence of the African culture is vivid in every corner and every aspect of the state. While in Rio de Janeiro, where I am from, the Portuguese influence speaks a little louder. That’s the beauty of Brazilian culture—it’s a mixture of the African, Portuguese, and Native-Indian cultures, each having its own influence on different regions in Brazil.
And just like that, I found a slice of Bahia in the middle of the ocean, when I asked Leandro to teach me a few steps of capoeira. Here is a nice moment (though honestly, I am not very physically flexible).
If you are a capoeira master or a Brazilian chef, there is nothing sweeter than having your art be seen, discussed, debated, promoted, and ultimately appreciated, like it was on Holland America’s Prinsendam.
This post is a celebration not only of capoeira, but of all the different ways Brazilian culture was expressed and manifested, and all the different faces it wears—mine included.
Thanks Holland America!
If you’d like to learn more about Leandro Nascimento, check out his facebook page.
For those of you who live in the tri-state area and would like to explore capoeira classes,
check out the following sources: