Ginga Capoeira in Straus Square [Video]

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 at 6:40 am by

Sitting at the confluence of East Broadway, Rutgers, and Canal Streets is Straus Square, a veritable crossroads of cultures.  Broadly speaking, to the south and west is deep Chinatown; to the east is a small but strong enclave of religious Jewish living; and north is very well gentrified.  Not to mention the popular taxi relief stand just outside the Seward Park perimeter.  Anyway, much like our favorite people-watching perch at The Pit, Straus Square offers its fair share of street entertainment.

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Early Saturday evening, the triangular median transformed into a vibrant performance space for some local Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial arts form.  Backed by the rhythmic berimbau-driven music, a group of about twenty active participants assembled in a textbook Roda, the traditional dance circle for Capoeiristas.  Two-by-two, skilled students took turns competing in brief no-contact dance fights, utilizing a wide array of leg-sweeping acrobatics.  Their conspicuous presence attracted plenty of spectators, most of whom recorded the excitement on phones and cameras.

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This public Roda was an effort to promote the local Ginga Capoeira school, run by Brazilian transplant Professor Kiki da Bahia.  But more importantly, a fundraiser to help support the program which provides schooling in the nearby Benjamin Altman School (PS42) at 71 Hester Street.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIcGocNO1y8

Capoeira was popularized stateside in 1993 with the theatrical release of Only the Strong.  It remains a cult classic to this day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7dXhHDSfME&feature=related

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