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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Capoeira club all about the energy

    Garrett Macdonald, left, Alex Ramirez, cener, and Jennifer Myers, right, perform capoeira during Tucson Meet Yourself 2010.  Capoeira is taught at the student recreational center and is a mixture of martial arts, dance, and song.
    Garrett Macdonald, left, Alex Ramirez, cener, and Jennifer Myers, right, perform capoeira during Tucson Meet Yourself 2010. Capoeira is taught at the student recreational center and is a mixture of martial arts, dance, and song.

    When Garrett MacDonald was a sophomore in college, he missed how active he was in high school and decided to YouTube “”something a little less competitive, but still physical.””

    What he found was capoeira.

    A mixture of martial arts, dance, song and music created by slaves searching for freedom in Brazil, capoeira fosters both a performance and a community aspect. MacDonald said this mixture of social and physical energies is what makes this particular performance style special.

    “”It’s not just about the physical movement,”” he said. “”There’s a whole realm of community and awareness of what matters in life.””

    MacDonald, a linguistics senior, first began attending classes at the Student Recreation Center soon after that first YouTube click, then later joined the Capoeira Club at the UA. But after his first year, when he became president, he realized there was a lot of work left to do to build the club.

    “”When I became president, there was no members, no activities, nothing,”” he said.

    Now, the club boasts a strong new incoming president, a treasurer and more than a dozen committed members to the club.

    “”It was created for slaves fighting for freedom in Brazil,”” he said. “”And you can still feel that. Our community now is still very close, very strong.””

    MacDonald said spreading that feeling of community to the greater Tucson area is a part of their mission, letting people know that art is a major part of life.

    “”I’d tell people to try something new,”” he said. “”When you stay with what you know, life becomes stagnant. Then you never really experience the horizons of life. That’s what I got from capoeira but you can get that through any art form, through any perspective.””

    The theme of axe, a Brazilian word that refers to the shared energy between capoeira performers on the edges and center of the circle, is what unites a group and helps members to recognize cultural differences.

    “”It’s when you understand culture is beautiful and culture is important that it comes together,”” MacDonald said. “”Although we do come together in the melting pot of America, recognizing that individual cultural identity — that’s important.””

    But the most important part to MacDonald? The connection with others.

    “”What it boils down to there, we have a circle and everyone stands in it together,”” MacDonald said. “”You know, we’re not actually trying to kill each other, the performance is how we show what it (capoeira) is, but it’s the conversation that you have with the other person within the game that is what’s important. It’s the conversation of call and response. That conversation is the most important aspect of capoeira.””

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