Developed in the 1500's by the African slaves in Brazil, Capoeira is a unique art form that is African in origin and Brazilian in evolution. Introduced in the US in the mid-1970, Capoeira has become one of Brazil’s top sports, second only to soccer. It could even be considered one of the country’s top exports, as groups have become firmly established around the world. In 2009, it was classified as a national cultural patrimony by the UNESCO. Capoeira blends attack and defense with flowing, dance like movements, acrobatics, music, instruments and songs. These aspects marry flexibility, agility, strength, balance and coordination in addition to self-confidence. Capoeira is not only a sport but a dynamic, ritualistic and cultural form of self-expression which connects participants to Brazil's rich cultural history. A mixture of body, mind, music and energy, Capoeira is a workout like no other that requires both mental and physical concentration. It is also a great social experience. During the 1500s, Portugal shipped slaves into South America from Western Africa. Brazil was the largest contributor to slave migration with 42% of all slaves shipped across the Atlantic. These people brought their cultural traditions and religion with them to the New World. The homogenization of the African people under the oppression of slavery was the catalyst for capoeira. Capoeira was developed by the slaves of Brazil as a way to resist their oppressors, secretly practice their art, transmit their culture, and lift their spirits. There are many myths that claim capoeira was disguised as a dance so they could practice it in front of their slave owners without drawing suspicion. The practitioners appeared to uneducated observers as engaged in an African dance rather than a refinement of a martial art. After slavery was abolished, the slaves moved to the cities of Brazil, and with no employment to be found, many joined or formed criminal gangs. They continued to practice...
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