Spinning high kicks and flying leaps have been the sole preserve of kung fu and the likes of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and the Shaolin Monks for centuries in China, but with an ever-changing cultural landscape that is opening up daily to the big wide world, the times they are a-changing.
Enter capoeira, a Brazilian martial art practiced by African slaves in the 1600s that metamorphosed into a beautiful combination of dance and music to hide its dangerous nature from the slave owners.
As graceful as a panther and as treacherous as a snake, capoeira today is a national sport in Brazil and its philosophy of art and self-defense which combines flexibility, strength and control with music, song and positive energy has spread throughout the world. Like many sports and lifestyles, it's one that has been slow to reach China, but with the influx of outsiders the capoeira spirit has arrived and found a growing and enthusiastic local audience.
Open to all, Capoeira Shanghai's batizado takes place on 16, 17 and 18 September and will be bigger and better than ever before with workshops, shows and rodas taking place throughout the weekend and, with renowned visitors Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha (Founder of Capoeira Mandinga), Mestre Cabello, Contra Mestre Cipó and Contra Mestre Espeto all Shanghai-bound, plus students from across China and beyond, it promises to be an electric event.
Check out the West Lake with Capoeira Hangzhou or in the nation's capital with Capoeira Beijing—Axé!