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Oberlin College

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Brazil: Culture, Development, and Social Justice


A key puzzle for contemporary scholars is how capoeira originated but more importantly the way in which it has been transformed. Along these lines, this study focuses on what is most commonly referred to as the mother or the traditional form of capoeira, that is capoeira angola. This research will examine the africanisms of Capoeira Angola and the way in which they have been maintained throughout centuries of its existence. Accordingly, this study places great emphasis on reclaiming the roots and traditions of this art form that has been appropriated and incorporated into Brazilian commercial and mainstream culture. I conducted my field work in Salvador, BA with Grupo de Capoeira Angola Zimba led by Mestre Boca do Rio. The research findings reveal that the Africanisms of capoeira angola—orality, call and response, religiosity, spirituality, reverence to ancestors and the past—are evident in its movements, its structure, its music, instruments and songs. This research underscores the significance of the rituals and traditions of Capoeira Angola and highlights and exalts the African culture and influence that tend to otherwise be left in the shadows.


Dance | Performance Studies


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