International Women's Day is certainly an appropriate occasion to remember and celebrate some of the women in capoeira. Historically, women have not been well represented in capoeira groups and they have certainly not always been praised in song. In "Dendê de Aro Amarelo" we loudly proclaim "Sou homen não, sou mulher" and that's far from the worst thing that we sing about women in the roda.
Today, an increasing number of women have made a place for themselves in the roda and in the larger world of capoeira. Every time that I learn a little bit more about their lives and the work that they do, I am more impressed and thankful to have them as a part of our community.
Since I first started training capoeira in the mid 80's, there has always been a strong representation of women in our group (Capoeira Mandinga.) Many still do capoeira, but many more have gone on to other things...careers, families...things almost as important as capoeira. I would like to salute a few of those women by saying a grand "Salve" to Regina, Diane, Rebecca, Helena, Paulinha, Suzanne, Janela, Gazela, Peneira and so many others that I've forgotten.
And last, but certainly not least, I'd like to extend a big hug and a thank you to Mestras Sorriso and Lagosta. We are all in your debt. Salve!