Rich in history, bursting with passion and built on strong foundations of creative expression, self-discipline and multicultural appreciation – this could be a martial arts school of dreams. Axe Capoeira UK’s talented students bring you A Taste of Brazil, a diverse showcase of the art of capoeira. The term refers to a Brazilian martial art made up of music, dance, acrobatics and games. This unique combination of skills is said to have been created by African slaves in Brazil sometime after the sixteenth century and it continues to spread its wings throughout the world to this very day through schools like Axe Capoeira UK.
Good luck trying to stay still in your seat - you’ll want to jump up and join them, sooner or later.
And spread its wings this showcase certainly does - from the very first number to the last. Students light the fuse with a performance of Maculele, an Afro-Brazilian dance that conquers the stage in seconds with an explosion of light and rhythm. There’s also a snippet of Coco de Roda – another traditional dance - accompanied by a cacophony of drums that make the seats tremble beneath you. Every beat fills the air with a sound like smashing coconuts, alongside the swish of billowing skirts and lively shouts from the musicians. Good luck trying to stay still in your seat - you’ll want to jump up and join them, sooner or later. These are performers with an infectious amount of energy, loving what they do and wanting you to love it too.
The capoeira acrobatic solos section is particularly unusual, and all the more captivating for it. Agile as cats and smooth as snakes, these performers utilise every inch of their (slightly too small) stage - swinging and stretching like elastic as they show off a range of unconventional but nevertheless impressive acrobatics. However, the real bomb is dropped later on in the show when a short series of capoeira fights keep your heart in your mouth and your hands clutching the edge of your seat.The grace and fluidity of the students battling it out between themselves is fascinating – it’s hard to believe they’re really fighting, and not performing a fierce sort of dance instead.
A short drumming demonstration and occasional historical tidbits are also interspersed throughout the show, giving you a chance to catch your breath and truly understand the context of the performances. And whilst the capoeira martial arts section might overstay its welcome just a little bit, the focus and energy of Axe Capeoira UK’s students remains impossible not to enjoy.
If not quite the one and only martial arts school of dreams, this is certainly one of them. There’s nothing quite like capoeira– of that, you can be certain. Don’t miss it. I’m so glad I didn’t.