Sign Up For Capoeira Classes

July 15, 2011 12:04 pm by

As Bernie Focker said in Meet the Fockers, “This is capoeira, man. This is some hardcore shit.” Though its practitioners would perhaps prefer a more

Students at practice.

eloquent description, the Brazilian martial arts form, can indeed be “hardcore” (to see what we mean, watch this video). Unlike traditional martial arts, however, which can actually be used to engage in fighting, capoeira is more about missing rather than hitting. “It’s a folk art form that evolved in a very organic manner,” says Salonee Gadgil, 23, a student and now teacher of capoeira who will conduct lasses for beginners from August. “It’s set to music, not in the traditional sense as in there are no steps. But the music dictates the mood of the game; it’s not called a fight. It’s a show of skill without hurting your opponent.”

Capoeira’s origins can be traced to African slaves who were brought over to Brazil in the 16th century. Though its exact roots are murky, it was thought to have evolved as a way for them to disguise their fights in the form of a dance. Today, however, it has become a popular workout method, used just as often to tone bodies as it is in its traditional method of faux oneupmanship. Training is conducted in pairs who “spar” but without making contact. Gadgil, a jewellery designer, has been a practitioner for four years, training under India’s sole capoeira master Reza Massah, an Israeli expat who moved to Mumbai about five years ago and is more popularly known by his nickname Baba (all capoeira trainers are given a nickname). Students, like Gadgil, need Baba’s sanction before they can start teaching, and a few of his proteges have already set up shop across the city.

For her classes, which will start August 1, at K.D.’s Studio in Versova, Gadgil will train batches of 10 to 12 people twice a week. She says anyone can learn capoeira, because in many ways it encourages the “movements of our childhood”. “When we’re children, we’re very comfortable with falling and rolling and we lose that as we grow up,” says Gadgil, who believes the dance form requires nothing except use of the person’s own body weight. “It encourages the use of the entire body, you use your hands and feet. You have to use all fours….it  brings back the childishness of movement, where there’s no inhibition,” she says.

To register for the classes, or attend a trial session on Friday, July 22, contact Salonee Gadgil on 98205 66649 or by emailing Classes cost Rs2,000 per month for eight classes, and you can sign up from month to month.