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Three years ago, Nick Cooper, a local musician and volunteer for Houston Indymedia, traveled to Brazil to learn more about capoeira, the Brazilian martial art and dance form. What he discovered, however, was modern psychotherapy with a punch. In his documentary Soma: An Anarchist Therapy, Cooper delves into Soma, a little-known form of therapy that marries capoeira to the anarchistic teachings of Wilhelm Reich.

Roberto Freire, a 75-year-old veteran of the authoritarian Brazilian government, leads the Soma classes with a small collective of therapists. Traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Bahia and São Paulo, Cooper documented Freire and his out-of-the-box practice. "Unlike traditional therapy, where the idea of contact between a therapist and a patient outside of the sacred space of the office is quite troublesome," he says, "the one or two weekends of Soma sessions each month contain much drinking, dancing, eating and partying."

Cooper discovered that beyond fun and martial arts, Soma practitioners were learning how to deal with the troubles of life — societal, governmental and personal — through Freire's methods. Watch Soma, and the next time you find yourself down, you might just skip the therapist's couch for some Brazilian high kicks.
May 11-14, 8 p.m.

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