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Capoeira Angola Vadiação Cambridge

From 2013 to 2015 I taught Capoeira Angola classes based at King's College Cambridge. As of summer 2015, I cannot offer regular training dates in Cambridge. I recommend attending Richard's classes at George Pateman Court, see!

My background

I am a student of mestre Rosalvo dos Santos (Grupo Vadiação), my Capoeira name is Peter Tosh. My Capoeira home base is the Academia Jangada in Berlin, where I started training in 2003. Over the years, I have had the privilege of training and playing with different groups and wonderful people in various places, such as Thessaloniki, London (1) (2), Cambridge, Patras, Odessa, Athens, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

At the Capoeira Angola Women's Easter Meeting 2014 in Berlin I have been awarded the title of treinel (trainer).

My mestre Rosalvo and his mestre Cobra Mansa at the (old) Academia Jangada

What is Capoeira Angola?

The following is a short characterisation of Capoeira and Capoeira Angola. It is, however, probably at most the very beginning of an answer to the above question. That should be borne in mind, when reading the following lines.

Capoeira is an Afrobrazilian game/martial art/dance that developed as a cultural expression of Africans abducted to Brazil in the course of the transatlantic slave trade. In the game (the roda `circle'), two players attempt to dominate the game space and each other by means of various kinds of movements, often by tricking their partner. Capoeira does not only involve movement and acrobatics, but crucially also song and music. The most emblematic instrument used in the Capoeira Roda is the berimbau, a musical bow.

In 2014, the Capoeira roda/circle was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

There are several styles of Capoeira, the main ones being Capoeira Regional, Angola and Contemporanea. The Angola style of Capoeira, founded by Mestre Pastinha in the 1930s, emphasises the traditional aspects of the game and the connection to its African roots.

Mestre Pastinha and his academia

Capoeira Angola Workshop: 25/26 April 2015

In spring 2015, we organised a Capoeira Angola Workshop with my Mestre Rosalvo and Contramestra Susy (Grupo Vadiação, Academia Jangada, Berlin) in Cambridge. In addition to movement and music classes on both days, the workshop also featured a screening of the recent documentary "Jogo de Corpo" on the African roots of Capoeira, followed by an excellent discussion with of one of its co-producers, Prof Matthias Assunção (University of Essex), an expert in the history of Capoeira.

Thanks to our guests and to everybody who attended for making this a great event!

The workshop page is currently archived here.

Historical remarks

Capoeira has been implied as a means of self-defence of enslaved Africans, and it has been associated with the quilombos, settlements of escaped slaves in Brazil. Consequently, it has also played a role for black civil rights movements in Brazil in the 20th century. The cultural meaning and use of Capoeira in the course of its history (e.g. to what extent it was actually used as a means of defence) is still the subject of much debate. That Capoeira in one way or another posed a threat, however, is supported by the fact that it remained forbidden in Brazil well into the 20th century due to its association with urban banditry.

Concerning the origins of Capoeira, I recommend the research project based at the University of Essex on "The Angolan Roots of Capoeira". The findings of the project feature in the recently released documentary Body Games - Capoeira and Ancestry.

"The Angolan Roots of Capoeira"
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