Details to come…
“Capoeira is a dancer’s fight… It is a gladiator dance… It is a duel of comrades… It is a game, it is a dance, it is a dispute – a perfect symbiosis of force and rhythm, poetry and agility, the only art form where the movements are commanded by music and singing. The submission of the force to the rhythm. From the violence to the melody. The subliming of the antagonisms…”
~ Dias Gomes
Capoeira (Pronounced ka-poo-eyh-da) is an African-Brazilian martial art that incorporates acrobatics, dance, music, and songs in a rhythmic dialogue of body, mind, and spirit. It is a communal game in which two opponents play each other inside the roda (a circle), formed by the other players who create rhythm for the game by clapping, singing and playing the berimbaus (African-Brazilian traditional instruments, considered the soul of Capoeira) and other key instruments. The two opponents compete with each other using capoeira movements, camouflaging the self defense kicks and moves with playful acrobatics and dance-like moves spontaneously creating strategy to fool their partner and catch them off guard.
Capoeira Luanda was born from the union of capoeiristas from different times and experiences, with the effective participation of all professors, instructors and graduates of Mestre Jelon. Capoeira Luanda was founded on April 6th, 2007, after a long process of research and study under the direction and guidance of Mestre Jelon.
Capoeira Luanda’s objective is to bring a different purpose into the Capoeira world. Our philosophy promotes a democratic way that would allow all the participants to have the autonomy to participate in the evolutionary process of Capoeira Luanda.
The root of the name Luanda is a homage to my mestre Eziquiel Martins, who founded the Grupo Luanda de Capoeira in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in 1963. Another inspiration behind the name Luanda was meaning of the word Luanda in Yoruba language which means “the junction of the moon and the earth” and “Peace and imaginary land” in the dialect Bantu. Luanda is the capital of Angola and was one of the most important ports during the slave trade when Africans were taken to the Americas as chattel. Luanda was one of the cities in West Africa where Africans said the last good bye for those who never returned. It was the Africans from the slave trade that contributed to the richness of the African Culture in Brazil.
Capoeira Luanda is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in order to spread and promote the art of Capoeira and all aspects of the Afro-Brazilian Culture throughout the world. It also contributes to the development of the consciousness of children and adolescents, by contributing to their psycho-social behaviors through the principles and movements of Capoeira. The Capoeira perspective encourages a way to value the manifestation of the popular Brazilian Culture, and richness of many opportunities.
This organization is justified by its importance as an art and its power to help in the educational process. Capoeira Luanda has branches in 7 countries: Brazil, United States, Germany, Peru, Holland, Italy, and Turkey. Our objective is: To divulge and develop all aspects of Capoeira. Capoeira Luanda consists of beginning students, graduates, instructors, professors and contramestres, under the direction of Mestre Jelon and assisted by the board of contramestres and Professors.
Mestre Jelon Vieira is the founder and Artistic Director of Capoeira Foundation and Dance Brazil. He has earned much acclaim as a broadly talented choreographer, and a world-renowned master and teacher of capoeira. Born in Santo Amaro da Purificação, Bahia, a state in northern Brazil, Mr. Vieira studied capoeira with the famous Mestre Bimba, Mestre Eziquiel, and Mestre Bobo, Afro-Brazilian dance at Escola de Ballet Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador, Bahia, modern dance with James Truite, Thelma Hill, Fred Benjamin, and ballet with Don Farnsworth.
Since his arrival in the US in 1975, Mr. Vieira has catalyzed the growing interest in and understanding of Brazilian culture while simultaneously developing his own choreographic style that blends tradition Afro-Brazilian dance and North American modern dance. In 1976 he formed the Capoeiras of Bahia with Loremil Machado. Then, in 1977, Mr. Vieira founded Dance Brazil, and for the last 20 years has guided the company through breathtaking performances of capoeira and Afro-Brazilian dance. Mr. Vieira and Loremil Machado introduced capoeira to the United States nearly thirty years ago.
Mr. Vieira teaches capoeira to people of all ages and from all walks of life in both Brazil and the United States. He has taught the soccer great Pele and American movie stars Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy. Although he resides in New York, Mr. Vieira spends several months a year in Brazil. One of his long term goals is to open a center for underprivileged children, using capoeira to build self esteem and self-discipline and to begin moving these children off the streets and into the educational system and mainstream society.
Mestre Jelon Vieira In the United States, Mr. Vieira has taught in many residency workshops and has been a guest instructor at Yale University’s African-American Studies Department since 1982. He has also taught at many other universities and colleges including Oberlin College, Columbia University, Stanford University, Duke University, and the University of Nebraska. He has worked with several American dance companies including Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey. He has also worked closely with other cultural institutes in the United States such as the Caribbean Cultural Center in New York and the Carver Community Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1993, after a decade of collaboration between Dance Brazil and the Carver Cultural Community Center, Mr. Vieira and Carver Center Director Jo Long decided to create Ilê Bahia de San Antonio, the House of African-Brazilian Arts. The organization was incorporated in 1993 to establish a professional level instruction and training center in the African-Brazilian performing arts. Special emphasis is placed on training at-risk, minority youth in a positive and culturally affirming activity.
When at home in Brazil, he teaches children and young adults in his home community of Boca do Rio, using Capoeira to build self-esteem, instill self-discipline and to raise social consciousness while helping his students become a vital part of their own community. Mr. Vieira was recently awarded a 2008 NEA National Heritage Fellowship. This award, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, recognizes Mr. Vieira for his artistic excellence and contributions to America’s cultural heritage.