Interview with Cristina Nascimento Dias dos Santos Rio de Janeiro in march 1999 Interviewer: Chris Kerz Translater: Eneida Sanches (Salvador)
Introduction: Cristina Nascimento Dias dos Santos began with Capoeira Angola in march of 1993. She participates in the Capoeira Angola Ypiranga de Pastinha nucleus1, led by Emanuel Lopez de Lima. She lives in Rio de Janeiro and works as an educator of children. Nowadays she is the only contramestra living in this city.
How did you begin to train in Capoeira Angola?
I started with Capoeira Angola because I began with a therapy which included elements of Capoeira, called Somatherapy2. It is a therapy which utilizes Capoeira in the therapeutical process. I sought out mestre Neco (Rio de Janeiro) on a day in which he was giving classes. He obliged me at first to observe so that he could find out my intentions.
What was the name of the group?
During that time he formed part of G-CAP -Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho, led by mestre Moraes.
When did that take place?
In march 1993. I spent approximately six months of training with mestre Neco after which he took a break, not knowing for how long. So I started training with Manõel. I knew him from before, as they had been sharing the same space. Manõel gave lessons on different days than mestre Neco. When mestre Neco started his classes again I had been training with Manõel for some time and so continued with him. I immedeatly fell in love with Capoeira. I finished the therapy and disligated myself completely from it, realizing it was in fact Capoeira which brought the profound transformation I was looking for in my life. It was through Capoeira that I really began to know myself and to change in all levels: culturally, personally and in my relationships to others.
Did many people from the therapy continue with Capoeira like you?
It is rare and even more difficult because it means being with a mestre. People question the authority of the mestre. When I started there where many people in the therapy, at least twenty people were participating in the group. One of the few persons from the therapy that continued with Capoeira was me, I really integrated into Capoeira.
1 nucleus means a group that trains several times a week, which is traditionally led by a mestre, contramestre or treiel. It aquires a regular participation, which may include social or cultural activities.
2 Somatherapie was founded by Roberto Freire. It usually takes one year and is offered in many vig cities of Brasil. The therapie includes a membership in a group of Capoeira Angola.