Capoeira is intangible cultural heritage of the state of Rio de Janeiro

Capoeira is a form of movement that incorporates music, dance and martial arts. It was developed by the African slaves of Brazil as a means of hiding their combat training. The plantation owners thought they were taking part in a dancing ritual.


Capoeira classes in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

The Dance

Those taking part in the dance form a circle called a roda. The participants then take turns singing, playing an instrument or performing martial arts. Some of the moves include takedowns, elbow strikes, punches, slaps and body throws. It is theorized that the martial arts moves have developed directly from African battle techniques.

History of Capoeira

The practice of Capoeira was illegal until the 1930s thanks to two masters of the sport, Mestre Bimba and Mestre Pastinha. They spent their adult lives working to build training academies and regulate its teaching and competition. Their success resulted in a proliferation of academies in Rio de Janeiro. One of the masters of the art, Artur Emidio, set up his school in Rio de Janeiro and won some of the major competitions in the area. The school has become one of the most famous training academies in Rio.


Capeoira Today

Thanks to the founding fathers of this art form, Capeoira is alive and well in Rio. Visitors can watch Capeoira being practiced on the streets of Rio. Schools will travel to the beaches and give demonstrations of their skills right on the sand. There are also frequent competitions between schools in the city. Capeoira has also become a hit internationally with schools starting to open up in other countries.


Capeoira Schools

There are many schools teaching the art of Capeoira in Rio de Janeiro. Visitors are welcome to any of these schools to take a few classes. Or if you would prefer to simply go and watch a demonstration phone any of the schools to find out when they are going to do a Roda. A Roda is a musical circle where schools battle against each other. Some of the best schools include Galpao das Artes, Grupo de Capoeira Angola, Centro Cultural Senzala and Brincadeira de Angolo for children.