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Interview with Cristina Nascimento Dias dos Santos Rio de Janeiro in march 1999 Interviewer: Chris ... - page 5 / 8





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your whole life. We understand this, only it has to be the start of reflection. If you never begin to reflect about what you are doing, you are never going to change. Never. The number of the women who dedicate themselves are increasing, and they attempt to learn what Capoeira really is all about. They take it for themselves as an objective of life. Nowadays we already have contramestre. There is Janja, there is Paulinha (two contramestras formed by mestre Moraes in Salvador and leading now a nucleus in São Paulo). This is an advance. In this event (the roda of women on the 8th of March) we recieved lots of support from the men as well, including compliments. They even asked us when the next roda would take place. That is to say, a major exchange is beginning and this space is one we have conquered. The roda is still not a space where women have an active voice, they do not have effective participation. This is slowly changing and can only be made more effective if we can manage to maintain open the dialogue and have an answer from our companheiros who are practicing Capoeira with us and dividing the same space.

You already talked about the support that you missed from your companheiro, how was the support from your mestre? Was it taken into consideration the difficulties which arised for your training due to your situation as a single mother?

In the same way in which I responded to the racial question -a black talks about this question with much more sensitivity because one has lived it- I talk about the sexist question. Manõel always gave me support so that I could train in Capoeira, and in reality his support was always to charge me, to charge my presence. All these difficulties were presented to him and he was tolerant in certain aspects, for example to liberate the question of time. He did demand a lot though in the sense that I could not carry out certain movements, but he never questioned the reasons why. I am a woman who lives in a context where all these things have never been permitted. It is a lack of comprehension. It has to be the major perception of what is the feminine world, and what it means to be a woman in society. Only by climbing up whichever favela in Rio you will see what the life of a woman in Brasilian society is all about. He never had to carry this weight of responsibility which is normal for a woman who is forced to raise a child alone. These are the differences which have to be discussed and explained more often so that there is comprehension from both sides. Now, all this discussion has to be intergrated into your dedication to Capoeira. It will not progress if you just stay in a theoretical discussion regarding the growth of women in Capoeira if you do not search out this growth on an individual basis. This will only result from practice. Training. Do I have a difficultly to take the berimbau? Well, enter into the struggle. Take it. Train in your home. Listen. Question and start to really play berimbau. The discussion within Capoeira cannot only be theoretical, because it is continous movement. You have more power to question the role of women inside of Capoeira when you reach to penetrate deeply inside of it. In the moment you begin to perfect yourself and become more and more a Capoeirista. The demand exists on all sides.

On the 8th of March the first roda of women took place here in Rio de Janeiro. You already mentionted that this roda was very well recieved from both men and women. Who initiated this roda here in Rio and what happened on a practical level? Does a structure exist between the women who organize these type of events?

The idea emerged informally. We started to converse with women who have practiced Capoeira over a long period of time and in order to organize everything properly we had meetings here in the house. To converse, to play berimbau, and to practice the very


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