Learn Capoeira in Rio de Janeiro

Join us occasionally for capoeira classes at Lagoa with our capoeira teacher, Davi! Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins and highly mobile techniques which switch with slow dance moves. Capoeira is organised in an area of Rio called Lagoa. You will practise capoeira on the shore of the lake, which boasts several vantage points with incredible views. Lagoa is also a popular place for cariocas to go for a walk, jog, cycle (there is a cycle path all the way round the perimeter of the lake) or enjoy a picnic.

All skill levels are welcome at our capoeira classes – nobody expects you to be an acrobat (though the acrobats among you are welcome too!).


When: Occasionally
Where: Lagoa (10-min walk from Caminhos)
Meet: At Caminhos Language Centre and walk to Lagoa together
Cost: Free!

Check the actual times in our Caminhos Activity Calendar.

History of Capoeira

As well as being a fun sporting activity for young and old, capoeira brings an incredible part of Brazilian history with it. Capoeira was developed in Brazil mainly by West African descendants, probably around the beginning of the 16th Century, in combination with native Brazilian influences.

It is thought that capoeira was disguised as a dance by slaves to fool their slavemasters. The fast switches between martial arts and slow dance moves are one aspect which underpins this thought. The story goes that when the slavemaster showed up at a ‘roda de capoeira’ (capoeira circle) the capoeiristas would quickly switch from martial arts to slow dance-like moves.

Capoeira was successfully used in the Paraguayan War in 1865-1870, in which many slaves were granted freedom. However, 1890 marked the start of a lengthy period of prohibition of capoeira across the whole of Brazil, during which time citizens caught practising capoeira would be arrested and tortured by police. Capoeira only became legal once again in the 1920s.

Today you can find capoeira schools throughout Brazil, and in recent years it has gained in popularity worldwide, spreading across the globe to Europe, Asia, Australia, the USA and Canada. Capoeira can also offer a safe haven for underprivileged Brazilian children and teenagers who, besides learning a martial art and a range of exciting capoeira acrobatic moves, can learn much more about Brazilian history and development-enhancing characteristics such as respect and discipline.

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