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Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art

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Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art is a provocative look at capoeira, a demanding acrobatic art that combines dance, ritual, music, and fighting style. First created by slaves, freedmen, and gang members, capoeira is a study in contrasts that integrates African-descended rhythms and flowing dance steps with hard lessons from the street. According to veteran teachers, capoeira will transform novices, instilling in them a sense of malicia, or "cunning," and changing how they walk, hear, and interact.

Learning Capoeira is an ethnographic study based on author Greg Downey's extensive research about capoeira and more than ten years of apprenticeship. It looks at lessons from traditional capoeira teachers in Salvador, Brazil, capturing the spoken and unspoken ways in which they pass on the art to future generations. Downey explores how bodily training can affect players' perceptions and social interactions, both within the circular roda, the "ring" where the game takes place, as well as outside it, in their daily lives. He brings together an experience-centered, phenomenological analysis of the art with recent discoveries in psychology and the neurosciences about the effects of physical education on perception. The text is enhanced by more than twenty photos of capoeira sessions, many taken by veteran teacher, Mestre Cobra Mansa.

Learning Capoeira breaks from many contemporary trends in cultural studies of all sorts, looking at practice, education, music, nonverbal communication, perception, and interaction. It will be of interest to students of African Diaspora culture, performance, sport, and anthropology. For anyone who has wondered how physical training affects our perceptions, this close study of capoeira will open new avenues for understanding how culture shapes the ways we carry ourselves and see the world.

Synopsis:

Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art is a provocative look at capoeira, a demanding acrobatic art that combines dance, ritual, music, and fighting style. First created by slaves, freedmen, and gang members, capoeira is a study in contrasts that integrates

African-descended rhythms and flowing dance steps with hard lessons from the street. According to veteran teachers, capoeira will transform novices, instilling in them a sense of malicia, or "cunning," and changing how they walk, hear, and interact.

Learning Capoeira is an ethnographic study based on author Greg Downey's extensive research about capoeira and more than ten years of apprenticeship. It looks at lessons from traditional capoeira teachers in Salvador, Brazil, capturing the spoken and unspoken ways in which they pass on the art

to future generations. Downey explores how bodily training can affect players' perceptions and social interactions, both within the circular roda, the "ring" where the game takes place, as well as outside it, in their daily lives. He brings together an experience-centered, phenomenological analysis

of the art with recent discoveries in psychology and the neurosciences about the effects of physical education on perception. The text is enhanced by more than twenty photos of capoeira sessions, many taken by veteran teacher, Mestre Cobra Mansa.

Learning Capoeira breaks from many contemporary trends in cultural studies of all sorts, looking at practice, education, music, nonverbal communication, perception, and interaction. It will be of interest to students of African Diaspora culture, performance, sport, and anthropology. For anyone

who has wondered how physical training affects our perceptions, this close study of capoeira will open new avenues for understanding how culture shapes the ways we carry ourselves and see the world.

Table of Contents

Preface

Prelude: Playing Capoeira

1. Inside and Outside the Roda

The Development of Capoeira

Black Culture in Brazil

Mobilizing the Black Community

Resisting Sociology, Structures, and Symbols

A Phenomenological Turn in Ethnography

Plan of the Book

PART 1: LEARNING

2. The Significance of Skills

A Capoeira Class

Skill and Sensitivity

Learning to Walk

The Body's Role in Experience

Learning to Fall

3. Following in a Mestre's Footsteps

The Advent of the Academy

Moving like a Mestre

Imitative Learning

Coaching the Bananeira

Coaching and Developing Skills

Apprenticeship as a Research Method

PART 2: REMEMBERING

4. History in Epic Registers

A Notorious History of Outlaws

The Bambas of Bahia

The Closing of the "Heroic Cycle"

The Long Struggle for Liberation

African Origins and Slave Resistance

The Tragic Life and Death of Mestre Pastinha

Alternative Histories

How Histories are Heard

5. Singing the Past into Play

The Song Cycle

Singing Commentary on the Game

Mortal Seriousness and Prayer

Shifting "I" Across Time

Ambiguous Times in Song

Playing in a Poetic Projection

PART 3: PLAYING

6. Hearing the Berimbau

The Capoeira Orchestra

Musical Interactions

The Grain of the Berimbau

Listening with a Musician's Hands

Hearing with a Player's Body

The Social Ability of Hearing

Hearing as a Skill

7. Play with a Sinister Past

Reminders of the Past

The Importance of the Chamada

The Chamada's Dramatic Dynamic

Play and Implied Violence

The Sinister Gravity of Play

A Sense of Tradition

PART 4: HABITS

8. The Rogue's Swagger

The Ginga

Fundamentals of Cunning

The Despised Waist

A Swaying Stride

Posture and Self-Transformation

Crying at an Adversary's Feet

9. Closing the Body

Becoming Aware of One's Openness

The Impossibility of Closing

Opening an Adversary

Closing the Body in Candomblé

Signing the Cross

Gesture, Posture, and Vulnerability

10. Walking in Evil

Hard Jokes and Cautionary Tales

Dissembling in a Treacherous World

The Sideways Glance

Seeing Through Shifty Eyes

A Cunning Comportment

PART 5: CHANGES

11. The Limits of Whitening

The Emergence of Capoeira Regional

Critics of Capoeira Regional

Bimba's Students and "Whitening"

Whitening in Brazil

Changes in Movement Style

Capoeira from Middle-Class Bodies

12. Tearing Out the Shame

Hands, Head, and Legs

Working with Bodies

Reviving Capoeira Angola

Broken Movements, Softened Bodies

Shame and Its Removal

Moved to Change

Conclusion: Lessons from the Roda

Physical Education as Ethnographic Object

The Pragmatism of Practice

Embodiment and Experience

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195176971
Author:
Downey, Greg
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Greg
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Capoeira (Dance)
Subject:
Anthropology | Social
Subject:
Cultural
Subject:
Anthropology | Social and Cultural
Subject:
Anthropology | Social & Cultural
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Publication Date:
20050231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
21 halftones
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.28x5.62x.56 in. .71 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
Sports and Outdoors » Martial Arts » General
Sports and Outdoors » Martial Arts » Philosophy
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Martial Arts » General

Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art New Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195176971 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art is a provocative look at capoeira, a demanding acrobatic art that combines dance, ritual, music, and fighting style. First created by slaves, freedmen, and gang members, capoeira is a study in contrasts that integrates

African-descended rhythms and flowing dance steps with hard lessons from the street. According to veteran teachers, capoeira will transform novices, instilling in them a sense of malicia, or "cunning," and changing how they walk, hear, and interact.

Learning Capoeira is an ethnographic study based on author Greg Downey's extensive research about capoeira and more than ten years of apprenticeship. It looks at lessons from traditional capoeira teachers in Salvador, Brazil, capturing the spoken and unspoken ways in which they pass on the art

to future generations. Downey explores how bodily training can affect players' perceptions and social interactions, both within the circular roda, the "ring" where the game takes place, as well as outside it, in their daily lives. He brings together an experience-centered, phenomenological analysis

of the art with recent discoveries in psychology and the neurosciences about the effects of physical education on perception. The text is enhanced by more than twenty photos of capoeira sessions, many taken by veteran teacher, Mestre Cobra Mansa.

Learning Capoeira breaks from many contemporary trends in cultural studies of all sorts, looking at practice, education, music, nonverbal communication, perception, and interaction. It will be of interest to students of African Diaspora culture, performance, sport, and anthropology. For anyone

who has wondered how physical training affects our perceptions, this close study of capoeira will open new avenues for understanding how culture shapes the ways we carry ourselves and see the world.

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