BRAZIL IN UK
Birmingham embraces Brazilian rhythm FOTO: MELISSA BECKER
The fourth International Capoeira Festival brings Brazilian culture to one of the largest dance festivals in Europe By Melissa Becker from Birmingham (UK) One of the biggest dance events in Europe will have a distinctly Brazilian flavour to its programme this year. A weekend of Capoeira performances, a carnival parade and special party will bring Brazil’s culture to the International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB) 2014, at the end of May. Organised by the group Cordão De Ouro Birmingham (CDOB), the 4th International Capoeira Festival will take place from 23 to 25 May as part of the month-long international dance biennial in Birmingham. There will be workshops, demonstrations and classes suitable for people of all ages to try. The Capoeira Festival is not the only Brazilian touch to this year’s IDFB. At the end of April, the main programme, also included performances of Sideways Rain, by Paulista choreographer and director Guilherme Botelho, with his contemporary dance company Alias, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The show was one of the highlights of the festival’s opening week, with the company creating a mesmerising performance on the famous Hippodrome stage, one of the main venues in the city. The special weekend celebrating Capoeira is the first event of its kind at the festival, part of the social programme developed in parallel to the IDBF main schedule. Curated and managed by “capoeirista” Samuel Mascote, from CDOB, the Capoeira Festival will include the presence of Mestre Suassuna, founder of Cordão de Ouro in Brazil who returns to the UK for the first time in almost 10 years.
No dia 29 de março, apresentação do grupo Someone at The Door Samba Band divulgou o festival em frente ao Rotunda, um dos prédios mais icônicos da cidade de Birmingham
Although the chance to meet the “mestre” will serve as a great opportunity for bringing CDOB members from around the world together, the event is not only for those who are already involved in capoeira with Cordão de Ouro. Mascote explains: “I think there’s no single UK institution giving major support to capoeira. My goal for this festival is to establish a platform so people can discover the connections we have. I want it to be accessible and enjoyable for everyone,
even those who don’t practice capoeira and others who don’t have any knowledge of Brazilian culture. It’s a great way to grab the attention of new audiences.” Mascote started practising the Afro-Brazilian art form, where dance meets martial arts, 15 years ago in his hometown of Nottingham. He went on to live in Brazil for a year, improving his knowledge and Portuguese with Mestre Suassuna. For Mascote, the dance could be a major engine for promoting Brazilian
culture. “Capoeira is one of the biggest means of promoting the Portuguese language in the world. The language plays a big role in the dance form. You must learn the language as the movements, songs, traditions and all rituals are in Portuguese. In order to understand the art in a better way, those who practise need to understand the language”. Mascote moved to Birmingham five years ago after he noticed that despite its large Brazilian community, the city was lacking a significant capoeira presence and deciding to promote the movement in the area. In this time he has engaged lots of people and continues to actively promote the dance style across the city. On 29 March, Mascote organised a presentation in collaboration with the Someone at The Door Samba Band, from Bromsgrove, promoting the festival in front of the Rotunda one of Birmingham’s historic city centre buildings. For the festival later this month, the CDOB will be joined by other Brazilian artists including Jota III, the Birmingham-based Forró group and the Nottingham Samba Band, plus others who will perform at the Rebel Spirit party at the PST Digbeth club. In association with Espirito Brum (the English strand of the Espírito Mundo cultural project), the event celebrating Birmingham’s underground music scene, is also part of the IDFB social programme and promises an authentic Brazilian club night on 24 May. The Brazilian weekend will close on 25 May, with an afternoon of free performances from noon and a carnival parade around the lake at Cannon Hill Park, at 4pm. You can by Day tickets for the International Capoeira Festival when you arrive for £45. Tickets for the whole weekend cost between £60 -£90 and can be purchased online http://goo.gl/yjTwxv.