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Interview with Cristina Nascimento Dias dos Santos Rio de Janeiro in march 1999 Interviewer: Chris ... - page 4 / 8

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be denied. This difference has its weight, but with this affirmation of your friend we will only limit and reinforce this prejudice. If my dream were to do classical ballet tomorrow... As a child of four, I had much passion for dancing. I watched dancing on television, and my mother said, “But you like a black cannot do ballet, the people will not want to watch you, you will not be able to do it.” It was said out of ignorance, but at the same time to protect me. It hurt me deeply. It would be the same if I were to say tomorrow, “But you as a white person cannot practice Capoeira, and could never become a teacher”. I think this would hurt the person in the same way that it hurt me back then. When my mother said this, I gave up simply because of a prejudice. With these limitations, this things will forever remain divided, without the possibility of exchange and discussion. I believe if a person has gone through such racial prejudism within society -”the prejudice of being black”- he or she has more of an idea to speak about this history, as someone does who has never lived it.

You participate in a group which mantains the traditional line of mestre Pastinha. In the history of Capoeira Angola it is common that the nucleus are lead by men. Nowadays there are many female participants. You as a black woman are not only suffering the results of racist prejudice, but also from the prejudice of being a woman who participates in Capoeira. The struggle for liberation always has to be interdependent with the social reality of a person. Is the question of sexism taken as important as the question of racism? And the second related question, in which sense could this struggle be included in Capoeira Angola?

Capoeira is a movement which is engulfed in a whole social context. In a certain historical timeframe women did not take part in the practice of Capoeira Angola. But what Capoeira is in and of itself, the movement and spirituality, does not exclude the effective participation of women. That they did not participate has been and is a consequence of a social context into which the woman is inserted. I do not believe that when a woman leads a group it hurts the principals or fundamental aspects of Capoeira Angola. It is connected to a general context, something much more amplified. My case is to be a single mother, which is very common in our country. Being a single mother is to be considered the head of the family, because it is she alone who raises the children. The man who is the father of my child, is not a companheiro who is with me as part of my daily life. Two months after my son Lucas was born I came back to train, because my mother lended me support. If it were not for my mother, I would have had to stop or train at home. I believe that this happens with a lot of women; they have to completely stop because they do not have someone who takes after the children. Moreover, there exists the history that you encounter a world which is essentially masculine, with its proper structures and organisation. The first difficulty to overcome is to believe that you can accomplish the same thing as a man. I came to the roda, I observed the orquestra, and the grand majority of the people playing berimbau were men. I thought that I would never be able to play berimbau. We organisied a roda of women, and we saw women playing berimbau

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    including gunga- something that women are generally hesitant to take up.

When I started practicing Capoeira there were only a few women who took hold of the berimbau in order to play and it was the same thing that we came and tried to play the instrument and they looked at us like, ”Look at that woman, so you know how to play?” It is normal, that the people pass the instruments to those who know how to play, but the fact of being a woman should not be the first hindrence, but the fact that either you know how to play or you do not. It is important to create possibilities where the prejudicies of everybody are reflected. The men were educated in this certain form, therefore they have all of this prejudice inside of them. It is not easy that you kill a thing inside of you which you have lived with

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