"Santa Clara clariô, a flor da capoeira brotou."
Capoeira spring has sprung! At least in the SF Bay Area. For me it started on March 8 at a workshop by Professora Sarara in Oakland. She is one of the most amazing young capoeiristas I know and because she lives in Arcata, CA, I rarely get to train with her. (More my fault than hers because she visits us much more often than we travel northward.) Many thanks to Contra-Mestre Xango and Menina for arranging the workshop. Though she's still recovering from recent back surgery, Sarara still plays better than 90% of us do.
Next, of course, was the Capoeira Ijexa Batizado at San Francisco State University. Mestre Urubu Malandro and his students always get the "batizado season" started right. With workshops before and open rodas after the ceremony, it was a fun weekend. Guests included Contra Mestre Mintirinha, Mestres Espirro Mirim, Marcelo, Caboclinho and Nenel among countless others.
Then there was the blockbuster week of March 25 to 31! Since I did not have to work that week (Spring Break) I decided to take the Monday night capoeira class at the Mandinga Academy. What a class! An intense, extended warm up, led by "drill sergeant" Come Come, that demonstrated how out of shape we all are. Especially me. But I survived to tell the tale and may even take the class again when I can afford to sleep late the following day.
Thursday March 28 was a double header. First a presentation by Mestre Cobra Mansa on the research he has done into the African roots of capoeira and other Afro-Brazilaian cultural expressions. After much work and many trips to Angola, the film that he and Matthias are making is nearing completion. Take a look at the clips on their indiegogo site:( http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/angolan-roots-of-capoeira?c=activity&website_name=angolanroots) and get a peek at what's to come.
The second half of the night was the roda at Mandinga Academy to welcome Mestre Daniel Calongo to California. He's an amazing athlete, as you'll see in this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8iHioBOU5Zg) but his game is about much more than doing flips. Looking forward to getting to know him. Lots of great people at the roda and plenty of exciting games.
Friday was the first night of the "Festa de Cultura da Bahia" presented by Contra Mestre Malandro and Filhos de Bimba.I had the chance to take a samba de roda class as well as two capoeira Regional classes. Surprisingly, I still had enough energy to play in the roda afterwards. I was especially happy to be able to play a brief game with Mestre Nenel, a rare treat.
Saturday was another double header. It started with music and movement classes taught by Mestre Cobra Mansa at the ICAF Oakland academy. He critiqued my berimbau, so I'm going to have to make some improvements on it before the next time he sees it. Part of the movement class was about the art and science of rasteiras. (Alguém vai cair.) I skipped the roda at Lake Merritt, which I hear was great, in order to make it to the second day of the Festa de Cultura.
Following a Q & A with Mestre Nenel, the Filhos de Bimba students did performances (puxada de rede, maculele, etc.) and received recognition for their hard work and accomplishments over the past year. Following the open roda was perhaps the best part of the weekend, a chance to sit, eat and talk with a bunch of capoeiristas without worrying about being kicked in the head.