Inscribed in 2014 (9.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian cultural practice – simultaneously a fight and a dance – that can be interpreted as a tradition, a sport and even an art form. Capoeira players form a circle at the centre of which two players engage with one another. The movements require great bodily dexterity. The other players around the circle sing, chant, clap and play percussive instruments. Capoeira circles are formed by a group of people of any gender, and comprise a master, counter-master and disciples. The master is the bearer and guardian of the knowledge of the circle, and is expected to teach the repertoire and to maintain the group’s cohesion and its observance to a ritual code. The master usually plays a single string percussion instrument, starts the chants, and leads the game’s timing and rhythm. All participants are expected to know how to make and play the instrument, sing a shared repertoire of chants, improvise songs, know and respect the codes of ethics and conduct, and perform the movements, steps and strikes. The capoeira circle is a place where knowledge and skills are learned by observation and imitation. It also functions as an affirmation of mutual respect between communities, groups and individuals and promotes social integration and the memory of resistance to historical oppression.