Aspects of Capoeira in the 21st century

  1. Rio Olympics : 
  • Not every capoeirista is in favour of an Olympic event:  opinions differ according to which capoeira form is practiced: “Capoeira Regional is closer to fighting, or sport. They’re more enthusiastic about capoeira being in the Olympics” vs capoeira Angola: they are less in favour as they believe that “capoeira, which includes music and chanting and does not declare winners or losers, is a cultural rather than a sporting event”

2. Brail’s toursim industry: 

  • Brazil’s tourism industry makes ‘”frequent use of capoeira’s striking visual images, but the day-to-day reality of life for many in the capoeira community is not as glossy, especially in a country as wracked by racial and social inequality as Brazil”.
  • Capoeira presentations, normally theatrical, acrobatic and with little martiality, are common sights around the world.
  • “Lots of people think capoeira is macumba,” said Joselio Lima, the Maré mestre, using a generic term for Afro-Brazilian religions. “Sometimes I have to explain to the parents of my students that it’s not about religion.””
  • Capoeira nowadays is not only a martial art, but an active exporter of Brazilian culture all over the world: Every year capoeira attracts thousands of foreign students and tourists to Brazil.
  • In 2014 the Capoeira Circle was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the convention recognised that the “capoeira circle is a place where knowledge and skills are learned by observation and imitation” and that it “promotes social integration and the memory of resistance to historical oppression”

3. Capoeira in popular western culture:

  • Capoeira can be seen in films such as in Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire (the Durmstrang students), Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull. In these films, capoeira is used in a de-contextualised context with no reference to its origins.
  • Capoeira is also seen in Rio2 and in Infinity War where capoeira is one of several African martial arts that T’Challa utilizes in combat.
  • Capoeira is frequently seen in rap music videos as back up dancers, again mostly with no reference to its origins and meanings
  • some have said that breakdancing has some capoeira influences sine the 1970s

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