Search Capoeira: Online Practices of Capoeira Learners

Esther Kurtz

Abstract


Capoeira is a fight-dance-game, a music and movement form practiced in Brazil for hundreds of years up to today. Since the 1930's, capoeira has been institutionalized and is now commonly taught in dance studios or athletic facilities across the world. As with many other knowledge systems, the internet now hosts extensive resources for capoeira students, including thousands of videos of capoeira games on YouTube. With this paper I ask how capoeira learners consume and interact with these media, and how these interactions contribute to or change how learners experience their practice. I have conducted interviews with members of my own capoeira group about their online habits and I have watched dozens of YouTube videos. This searching reveals that students access the internet to seek knowledge inaccessible to them offline in order to supplement their learning. Specific aspects of capoeira, such as body-to-body transfer of knowledge, are less likely to be transmitted virtually, while students report kinesthetic reactions to videos, and the ability to experience aesthetics and energy. This study examines these limitations as well as the opportunities made possible by online technologies.

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