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Inside Game: Mestre Jogo De Dentro Visits Toronto

Capoeira Angola master (Mestre) Jogo de Dentro, right, prepares to enter the roda (capoeiraangola)

Capoeira -- as many outside Brazil now know, and in some cases, can't shut up about (still semi-guilty) -- is the Brazilian martial arts form that encompasses music, dance, ritual, self-defence, body control and acrobatic flourishes into its game, or physical dialogue. The conversation between two players (jogadors in Portuguese) is improvised, though patterns and sequences exist to guide players new and veteran through "a good game."

Along with the Tekken video game series characters Christie and Eddy (originally based on real-life Mestre Marcelo Caveirinha in California), Dockers TV ads and films like "Only The Strong", many Torontonians have also become familiar with Capoeira as a public performance. Local groups like Capoeira Camara and Axe Capoeira may practice the slower, more strategy- and body control-oriented Angola style at times, but mostly show off the faster, more aggressive spectacle of Capoeira Regional to draw crowds.

But visiting Capoeira Angola Mestre Jogo de Dentro (literally "game of inside"), like the Toronto branch of his school, practices only the calculating, ritualized Angola style, likened to a "physical chess game" by some Capoeiristas. As part of the Mestre's Canadian visit, The Toronto group hosts a series of workshops starting this Saturday and running through to Monday Feb. 26.

The master, a distinguished and friendly teacher, is known in Capoeira circles for his theatrical, fun-loving presence -- he's been known to stop mid-game and pretend to dust off his shoes -- and for his unmistakeable wail on well-loved CDs of Capoeira Angola music, which takes the time to tell longer stories, or ladainhas, before the games commence.

Workshop schedule:
Sat Feb 24 12:30 p.m., 6 p.m. roda
Sun. Feb 25 2 p.m.
Mon. Feb. 26 8 p.m.
Cost: All workshops $90, one worklshop $40, roda $15
[watching could well be free or by donation, but check with the organizers]
Location: Trinity St. Paul's Church, 427 Bloor St. West
More Info: (416) 427-5774, capoeira (at) colba (dot) net, Capoeira Angola


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