Martial arts, music and modern dance merge in Vail |

Martial arts, music and modern dance merge in Vail

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Jelon Vieira/Special to the Vail DailyCapoeiristas from DanceBrazil will perform at Vail's International Evenings of Dance on Aug. 8 and 9, thrilling audiences with a mix of martial arts, games, music and dance.

VAIL, Colorado – Chances are you have never heard of a capoeirista (pronounced ka-pwer-rista).

But it’s the name for artists who practice the dance form known as capoeira and they will definitely provide a jolt to your senses in Vail, Colorado Aug. 8 and 9. That’s when DanceBrazil will perform at the Vail International Dance Festival’s International Evenings of Dance at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, games, music and dance. It was created in Brazil by slaves brought from present-day Angola sometime after the 16th century.

Participants form a “roda,” or circle, taking turns playing musical instruments, singing or ritually sparring in pairs in the center of the circle. The sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints and extensive use of sweeps, kicks and head butts.

DanceBrazil has created an athletic style of movement which melds the energy of traditional capoeira with contemporary twists, richly colorful music and costumes, samba-inspired dance, and the whiplash movements of capoeira.

“I had the pleasure of seeing DanceBrazil and meeting their director, Jelon Vieira, in their hometown of Salvador, Brazil for the first time about 15 years ago, and I was stunned by the brilliance of capoeira which was new to me at that time,” said Damian Woetzel, director of the Vail International Dance Festival. “I can’t wait to see them dance as part of the festival this year, it’s going to be just incredible.”

Vieira, who has led the company for almost 40 years, is credited with introducing capoeira to the United States in the mid 1970s.

Halle Berry says she studied capoeira as Catwoman’s fighting style for the 2004 movie while capoeira is the dance of the male troll in the popular online game “World of Warcraft.”

Tickets for the International Evenings of Dance are $65 and $85 for reserved amphitheater pavilion seating and $17 for general admission lawn seating.

Tickets for all performances of the 2009 Vail International Dance Festival are available online at or by phone at either 970-845-TIXS or 888-920-ARTS.

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