Movement Theory: Weight in Capoeira

Monalisa, who trains in Boston and used to train in DC, sent us this piece from an article entitled, "Weight: The First Motion Factor". Written by Edward Luna, a researcher who studies dance as well as capoeira, the piece discusses three qualities of weight, resiliency, strength, and lightness, and examines each in relation to the game of Capoeira Angola. He also talks about their applications in Capoeira Regional and how the use of weight by their practioners distinguish the two types of capoeira.
In the more traditional style of capoeira angola, movers frequently appear to use a kind of elastic resiliency to surprise their opponents. This appearance of bounciness, where the weight is constantly shifting, is deceptive not only for the opponent, but also for the academic observer.

A key concept in capoeira, malícia (or "treachery"), helps us understand this deception. Use of passive/elastic weight is a common feature of many African-American dances. In capoeira, this translates to a loose, resilient, and flexible bodily attitude that is nevertheless rooted to the earth, weighted and fully aware of where its weight is. Without that awareness, a capoeira angola player would easily be tripped. In other words, the body is oriented to the vertical axis, always "under itself," even when low to the ground, or inverted, with hands on the ground.

Read the whole article here (scroll about halfway down to get to the capoeira discussion).

Thanks, M.

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