Last night, a friend invited me along to her Capoeira class. I must admit that I had never heard of Capoeira before. It is a martial arts/dance that originated in Brazil, but most likely has African roots - possibly started by African slaves in Brazil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capoeira). Since I had no idea what Capoeira was, my friend sent me this video to spark my interest:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdZXp0Tq6Jk (around the 1-minute mark, 2 guys fight and it's amazing!)
After watching the video, I felt fairly intimidated about going to the class. Luckily, it was pretty low-key. The class was 2 hours long and broken into 2 sections - the first consisted of stretching and practicing (basic steps, kicks, rolls, etc) and the second was on mats with fighting. There were 10 people at a variety of levels (including 2 kids, who were fantastic). Since my friend and I are still at a beginner level, we didn't practice fighting. Along with 2 other newbies, we practiced doing hand-stands to build upper-body strength. Getting to watch the more experienced dancers fight was incredible. The dance is elegant and rhythmic.
There is a big Capoeira scene in Buenos Aires, but, here in La Plata, it is much smaller. We didn't have enough people to do the traditional circle with musicians. The music is an essential part of Capoeira and the dancers move to the beat. The teacher used a stereo for the class.
I had a lot of fun in the class. Plus, my body is aching today - a good indicator of a tough work-out :)