Capoeira Angola is multi-faceted and culturally rich art form; created in the 16th century as a way for African Slaves to resist oppression during the transatlantic slave trade, it contains a host of activities that can be utilized toward the education and socialization of the individual. The main activities include:
Music classes afford participants the opportunity to be part of an orchestra of instruments that are central to the Capoeira Angola ritual. Beginning with learning the rudiments of how an instrument is played, they proceed to learn that the goal is to play together to produce a harmonious sound – and that in order to do so they have to listen to each other, cooperate with one another, pay attention to each other and especially the leader of the orchestra.
The songs of Capoeira Angola contain the wisdom and teachings of Capoeira Masters that have been passed down for centuries. These messages are very relevant to young people as they show them a way to perceive and understand the world, their lives and how and why things happen around them.
Through the movement classes students work several mental faculties including their ability to focus, their attention to detail, coordination and sense of timing. These classes will also give students a chance to work with their peers in a safe and constructive, non-competitive manner. Through constantly working with partners the value of boundaries, sharing physical space, respect and working with a partner (as opposed to against them) will be reinforced in students.
Movement classes further offer students a safe venue to release pent up tension, anger, pressure and other stressful emotions and feelings that are often a symptom of coming from a marginalized or disadvantaged background.
The “Roda” (pronounced “hoda”) is the Ceremonial Circle of Capoeira Angola which combines its musical and physical aspects which students learn in class. It is where we see 2 players of Capoeira enter into the circle of instruments formed by their peers and within which the Capoeira Angola game is played. The Roda is, further, a venue for students not only to exhibit the physical, martial and mental skills they have been developing but for them to display the proper behaviours which will consciously and subconsciously be forming within them.
One of the key concepts in the dance-fight interaction of the Capoeira Angola game stresses is self-control. It is always emphasized that the goal of the two players when they ‘play’ Capoeira is to work together towards the desired outcome of having a ‘good game’ – one that is mentally and physically challenging, but also satisfying, safe and fun for both players.
To practice Capoeira is to belong to a family and a larger community. This type of support system enhances students’ sense of security and belonging which positively affects their mental state. To further strengthen the bonds between participants, the Project organizes educational and recreational Field Trips. Past trips have been to the National Art Gallery, the Museum of the Filipino People, the Mind Museum, a screening of “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo” and a summer swimming outing.