BENGALURU: This month, a new dance community is to open in Bengaluru. They will introduce to the city Capoeira, a Brazilian dance of martial arts that incorporates animal movements such as ‘surprise attacks’ and ‘skillful escapes’. The community is already operating in cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, say Capoeira dancers who will be coming to Bengaluru on August 15, for a workshop.
There have been introductory classes organised in Bengaluru, but they weren’t towards building a community, says Sharath Shantharaju, a Mumbai-based Capoeira trainer. There are Capoeira groups in other cities, such as Capoeira Jairo Mumbai, which has been around for three and a half years and boasts of 150 members. This Mumbai-based group now hopes to branch out to Bengaluru.
There are many groups but all of them identify with the larger Capoeira community in Mumbai. They regularly meet and innovate dance techniques, even if it is on the streets; they even battle it out. The dance is done in a circle, called ‘roda’, and is set to resemble a game. Folklore has it that this game-like practice came about to camouflage martial arts-training given to slaves, to put feudal lords off the scent. The current Capoeira dancers want to start a ‘movement’ and establish a community that extends throughout the country and organise an annual fest.
Sharath Shantaraju hails from Mysuru but trains in Capoeira in Mumbai. He says that though Bengaluru is off to a late-start, the community will be established this time. “We are starting with workshops and people will keep getting added or they might even quit because it is tough,” he says. Sharath is on his seventh year of Capoeira. This dance is done to the sound of Berimbau, a single-string percussion bow, and what makes it difficult is its high-powered kicks and spins.
“It is all about the animal movement and ferocity,” he says. This dance form dates back to 16th Century, when Africans where enslaved in Brazil. They came up with this form, a violent martial art and animal imitation, as a form of self-defence and rebellion. It will take an average of a year for a professional dancer to learn the basics of Capoeira. “The movement is a whole another dimension. A roar of a tiger and the sprawl of a spider can be enacted but an on-looker may not know the difference since it will be done in one smooth flow,” says Sharath.
Capoeira India, the first Capoeira institute in the country, established 12 years ago, is headquartered in Mumbai and also operates from Jaipur and Delhi. Arpana Massah, from Capoeira India, says the organisation plans on expanding to Bengaluru next year.