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Interview with Cristina Nascimento Dias dos Santos Rio de Janeiro in march 1999 Interviewer: Chris ... - page 7 / 8

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I have heard often in Brasil that Capoeira should be a cultural, national movement. How can people from outside be intergrated in this context, in the world of Capoeira?

To really know what Capoeira is about, you have to participate in a certain form within the culture from where it was born and concieved. This is for those who wish to become more profoundly involved. I never met Capoeira outside of this country, but I know that various difficulties exist that it happens. Now there is one thing. Capoeira is a universal thing, the movement goes in this direction. If it would not make sense to universalize Capoeira Angola, then it would not make sense to found a international fundation of Capoeira Angola. Capoeira is an open universe for whichever person who likes to participate, concerning the culture which is inherent, its own structure. Everyone has the possibility to learn Capoeira, and it is like my mestre always says, ”It is not something which comes into someone, it comes out.” Capoeira is like nature, like life, we are all participants of nature, the cosmos, and we have the adventures of our daily life. That means that it is inside of us all. It is experienced in daily life, the movement of nature which follows the laws of its own creation. Through the movements which flow from outside to inside, the possibility exists that everyone can learn Capoeira, if they are open to listening, learning the necessary elements for the expression to be manifest. Here and in Japan the possibility exists that this happens. The worry which many mestres have, and I think that is correct, Capoeira Angola from nearly being distinguished not expanding and becomeing something truely big so that the control of the quality will be lost. The intention of the whole world is that Capoeira grows. Nobody wants that Capoeira spends its whole life in the ghetto. We are taking the risk to die in the ghetto because we are not participating in the positive aspects of modernity, of what advantages exist for ones own survival within society. In the ghetto we protect ourselves against many bad things which modernity bring. The worry which the mestres have, that it does not become so big and one does no longer know what Capoeira is, and what it is not. We have to have a minimum of direction. There in Japan, I do not know what is happening with Capoeira Angola. The preocupation has to exist; first by knowing if I can use that one as a reference of Capoeira Angola. If we do not do that we will form a movement which is similar to that of Capoeira Regional. To expand, to measure, we lose referential, we lose identity. This is very risky. The process has to be slow, and sometimes pass through something more radical.

How do you see Capoeira Angola as being a way of life?

Capoeira became a part of my life to handle everyday life. It was important for changes in my life and for my physical, emotional and spirituell well-being. I still have little experience in Capoeira, it is only six years, and this thing, to bring Capoeira to life is something you learn with the years living and reflecting about what you are doing in life. I trie to see the dificulties that I have and in which way Capoeira can help solving them. I still lack a lot of experience, to accomplish the dialectic between Capoeira and life. But you have to be careful, too. I see the mandinga7 for example as essential to survive in the society I`m living in: This society is extremly unequal, competing and hierarchical, the daily struggle to survive is very difficult. So the mandinga is essential, but I don`t want it to play a role in all the relationships in my life. The more intimate my relationship to a person is, the less mandinga I want to use. I want my personal relations in a certain way to be free from this burden so that I can relate in a

7 The charme that makes the ease of Mandingeiros posslble. Next to malícia, it is a further fundamental Element of Capoeira Angola. Mandinga is on the one hand a spiritual strength that every person has, on the other hand it is the movement of the body that is carried out in the game of Capoeira Angola.

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