Capoeira: A gramática do corpo e a dança das palavras

Maria José Somerlate Barbosa


This study analyzes capoeira’s musical and cultural dialogue, discussing how the songs illustrate, control, and serve a mediating function during the games. The lyrics are crucial for a roda’s development since they determine the velocity of the game, dictate the mood of the players, and ease or add tension to the ring. The poetic discourse of the lyrics of capoeira songs—conveyed in part by ironies, inversions, half-hidden meanings, metaphors, poetic tension, and symbolic references—finds a counterpart in the choreographed movements of the capoeiristas’ bodies. The multiple connotations of the words and their floating meanings parallel the slippery characteristics of a “ginga” and other elliptical or inverted movements which embody the very nature of capoeira’s philosophy and history. In addition to the “language of the game,” this study examines other types of cultural and linguistic dialogues, addressing the interplay between Capoeira Angola and Regional, and analyzing capoeira’s dialogue with Brazilian culture, popular religions, and history.


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