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Have you heard about Grupo de Capoeira?

Gianela Diaz-Gaines

Issue date: 11/20/09 Section: News
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In a room resonating with Brazilian music, a focused group of five students positioned in a circle follow the lead of William Pruitt, capoeira instructor. The students do a series of complex stretches to warm up then pair up to work on a routine across the floor to the beat of the music in the background. While monitoring his class from the corner, Pruitt says he has been teaching capoeira at Case Western Reserve University for the past five years.

Capoeira, the art of Brazilian dance-fighting, was brought to Brazil by the slaves from Angola in the 17 century. The art form was a way of maintaining the culture from the native land and was passed on generation to generation in an effort to preserve the African roots the slaves came from. However, capoeira became officially outlawed in Brazil after slave owners were threatened by the sense of unity, identification, and nationality that it gave the slaves but also because it made them swift, agile fighters that could pose a threat of rebelliousness. In fact, although slavery was ended in Brazil by 1888, capoeira was outlawed all the way up until the 1930s. It is said that the dance elements within the martial art were to throw off any authority figures to conceal the practice. If caught, those would claim to have just been dancing in order to avoid any type of punishment.

Catherine Packer, president of the Grupo de Capoeira, joined the group her freshman year after seeing the organization on display at the activities fair. As president of the group, she maintains relations with USG, and oversees the activities of the rest of the executive board. So far this year, the group of about 10 students have performed at the Natural History Museum and at Case's Best Dance CWRU competition.

Today, capoeira is known internationally and has expanded significantly in the past 50 years. In 1974, it was officially recognized as the national sport of Brazil. In the practice, the musicians play an important role in the performance of capoeira. Singing in Portuguese, they commence the "game" between the two participants who engage back and forth with a series of jumps, kicks, flips, hand/headstands, and other ritualistic moves. Capoeira is a commonly taught discipline that teaches students how to maintain the balance between the mental and the physical.

"The idea behind the club is to teach the members of the Case community about the art and culture of capoeira," says Packer. Those interested in getting a good workout, learning about Brazilian culture, or simply want to try out dance-fighting can walk in on practices held in Wade Commons on Sundays from 2:30 p.m - 4:30 p.m and Wednesdays from 7 p.m - 9 p.m.
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In This Issue


  • Can you name this place?
  • Class inspires students to start CSEC
  • CWRU's Eco-Party
  • Eyewitness: Editor-in-chief for a day
  • Have you heard about Grupo de Capoeira?
  • Spectrum's sixth annual Drag Ball takes place Saturday
  • The college student's guide to credit cards - Part 3
  • USG creates transparency committee to improve communication
  • USG Brief


  • Colts and Saints are NFL's teams to beat
  • Five thoughts on the '09 season
  • Football's success is built on this senior class
  • Men win Veale Classic
  • Spartan Spotlight: Erin Hollinger
  • Spartans cap perfect 10-0 regular season
  • Spartans get first-ever win against B-W
  • Women's basketball drops lidlifter

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions


  • Discriminating against smokers again
  • Editorial: CWRU athletics' accomplishments praiseworthy
  • It takes two to have unsafe sex
  • Nothing much humane about humanity
  • SEC referendum deserves impartial consideration
  • The gap year: volunteering
  • Where is your favorite campus spot to chill, nap or relax?


  • American Music Masters Series wraps up week with Janis Joplin tribute
  • CIM graduate returns to Cleveland with jazz, cabaret aspirations
  • Delta Gamma swims for sight
  • Green is the new black: eco-friendly fashion
  • Hitting the spot: Atlas Sound
  • Holiday season with a cranberry craze
  • Latest installment in popular Call of Duty series improves on already high quality franchise
  • Sigma Psi hosts Mr. CWRU competition to benefit local communities
  • Starving Student: simple grub
  • The Buzz

Cross Country

  • Women finish third in region, qualify for nationals


  • Bracket Breakdown
  • Football Gameday: Case vs. Trine

Sex and Dating

  • Passive pregnancy prevention plan


  • Crooks UAA's Coach of the Year
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