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Voices Of Diversity: Capoeira

 CEDAR FALLS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) A group in Cedar Falls is embracing a unique dance/martial art form in Cedar Falls, Capoeira. Capoeira's origins are debated. Some say it began if Africa, others in Brazil.   Portuguese slaves used the Afro-Brazilian preforming art for religious purposes, as a warrior dance and also for fun. Eventually, it became a way for slaves to secretly train their bodies to prepare for uprisings. Today, in Cedar Falls, enthusiasts, capoeiristas, carry on the tradition.

"You just want to try more and you feel hungry, and you want more, and its like a fire, David Pratt Jr. said of his experience with Capoeira.

Kelsey Schaeffer, who is President of the UNI Capoeira Club, began participating four years ago. She said it is now a huge part of her life.

I have played many other sports, but I fell in love with Capoeira," she explained. 

In Capoeira, each participant takes on a new name in Portuguese. A circle is formed of capoeiristas, and then two by two they fight or as the Cedar Falls club likes to say, they, play a game. The group is called, Coudou Deouro.

 You learn everybodys Capoeira personality, this person likes to play up close, this person likes to play far away, everybody has their own style, Schaeffer said. 

When the music changes, the fight changes, and a new person enters the game.

That energy you can feel is almost drug like, its addicting, Alan Huynh, who has been participating in Capoeira for years said.
Getting in the zone takes great dedication. Capoeiristas earn chords to wear as their skills increase. They are expected to learn Copoeira's history and culture.  In a performance, they must be able to sing, dance and play instruments.  They must also learn Portuguese.

If you're interested in seeing a Capoeria performance, or in trying it out for yourself, visit this site:

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Washington Times