Visual Arts

Capoeira: Brazilian Martial Arts With Elements of Music & Dance at the Rothko

Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art with a history embedded in slavery, combines elements of dance and music in its performances, and Houstonians will have a chance to see it up close this week.

The Rothko Chapel is working with the Brazilian Arts Foundation to host a performance of Capoeira on its plaza, Thursday, August 9, at 7 p.m. as part of its series of summer events, Summer of Sounds.

In capoeira, music and dance are present while the opponents never actually make contact. They read each other's body language, and predict and mirror each other's movements. The complex moves are executed with astonishing speed, agility and fluidity.

The two opponents or players move to the beat of live drumming, and play in a roda or circle. It is challenging physically, but requires mental agility as well.

It is thought African slaves with Brazilian backgrounds or influences created capoeira during the 16th century in a Portuguese colony in Brazil. The Portuguese imported African slaves after failing to "tame" the Brazilian natives. The truth is, due to poor records there aren't any hard facts on its conception. Some say it was a way for slaves to sort out difficulties within their camps without using violence, as it was forbidden for slaves to fight slaves.

The performance of the Brazilian Arts Foundation: Capoeira Performance in the Chapel Plaza, The Rothko Chapel, 1409 Sul Ross, is scheduled for Thursday, August 9, at 7 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10.

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Emma Catherwood
Contact: Emma Catherwood