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02 Jul 2005
IOC News , museum-news-articles

Brazil and capoeira now showing at the Olympic Museum

Brazil and capoeira now showing at the Olympic Museum
Brazil and capoeira will launch the Olympic Museum’s summer festivities. On 8, 9 and 10 July, we will be proposing maculelê lessons, presentations of musical instruments (atabaque, berimbau, caxixi, etc.) and painting workshops. On the Friday, there will also be a maculelê show, (a dance closely linked to capoeira), and on the Sunday a big show with Mestre Paulão, an expert in capoeira and its music. This is the debut of the Summer Journey to find the Roots of Sport devised by the Olympic Museum in the framework of the Finding the Roots of Sport exhibition.
Alongside samba, capoeira is surely the main affirmation of Brazil’s cultural identity. It is an Afro-Brazilian dance invented by slaves who were prohibited from possessing weapons and practising martial arts. Capoeira as an art of self-defence, blending wrestling, dance, gymnastics, folk expression, art, games, sport and life philosophy, is broadly addressed in the Finding the Roots of Sport exhibition.
Maculelê, an Afro-Brazilian dance
Closely linked to the practice of capoeira, maculelê is a dance linking the traditions of different African tribes to that of the Indians of Brazil. To the rhythm of the atabaque (a drum) and the berimbau, they simulate a combat, striking sticks together. Accompanied by chanting, this dance expresses the struggle for freedom.
The berimbau: the musical arch
The berimbau is the main instrument used in capoeira. It is made of a straight stick approximately 1.40 metres long with a steel string attached to form an arch. A calabash (a dried and emptied colocynth) is fixed to the bottom side of the berimbau. It serves as an resonance chamber by collecting and amplifying the vibrations produced by the string when hit.
 Discover the detailed programme

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