by Issie Lloyd, Dance Development Worker
I recently took a two week trip to France with two friends to train with Capoeira group Ginga Nago. The members of this group make an annual event to meet and train together for a week at a destination of their choice. This year the group chose the lovely French Island Ile De Yeu as their training spot and were kind enough to let my friends and I join them.
The event was set up by Mestre Branco, leader of Ginga Nago, who has been a regular friend and visitor to our Cardiff Capoeira group (Nucleo De Capoeiragem, led by Contra Mestre Claudio Campos). The first week was spent on a beautiful campsite where we would train up to six hours a day, being taught by Branco and his students. We learnt a range of Capoeira movements and sequences which were then put into practice in the Rodas (this is when a circle is created with music and singing taking place at the front of the bateria and two people playing Capoeira in the circle).
We had music sessions outside in the sunshine, learning how to play a variety of rhythms on the pandeiro, atabaque and berimbau. We had the pleasure of learning the harmonies and verses of new songs (which are in Brazillian Portuguese) and jammed until our hands were buzzing with energy and voices reaching maximum capacity. The energy of the group was great, everyone was always happy and eager to learn and share ideas. Come evening time we would have a meal together then head off down to the Island’s Port to do a live Roda for all to see. It was great to have crowds of people watching us play Capoeira, some members of the crowd even played Capoeira and joined in!
This week of intense training has been incredibly influential on my creative learning and approach to Capoeira. I love this art form because you can never not be smiling and always feel happy when playing Capoeira – the music combined with the movement sends you into your own bubble. When you are playing with another person in the Roda, you create a connection when sharing energy through a conversation of movements.
I will continue to participate in other Capoeira events and workshops, just as I do with my dancing, as it develops my skills and informs my teaching in ways you wouldn’t believe. I can now look forward to my next training trip to LA to discover the roots of Locking and Popping!