**A Brazilian martial art/dance takes root **
Maybe you've already noticed a new group around Taikang Lu clapping, singing in Portuguese, dancing and twisting with their legs up in the air. This isn't a new trend born out of a gym class, but capoeira, an African-Brazilian martial art, combining dance, kicks, punches, jumps and gymnastics, brought to Shanghai by a couple of fans looking to have a good time.
When Simon, an avid capoeira practitioner, brought the sport with him to Shanghai in 2005, there were few who could even pronounce the word let alone participate in a roda (practice circle). Even though the sport lacked a significant following, Simon found a few fellow camaras (classmates) to hold weekly practices in Lu Xun Park. The camaras' training sessions raised the curiosity of passersby and people began to join in. Soon the more experienced camaras were teaching the freshly addicted newbies and capoeira took root in Shanghai.
The group has grown significantly since these first meetings and has about 25 consistent members. One of them is Diego Pappalardo, the man responsible for keeping capoeira alive in the city. He explains that a typical session involves warming up, stretching and practicing the basic movements and sequences. Once a week the group learns a Brazilian song before the warm up and then they practice a ritual dance with sticks (called maculeles), train and finish with a roda. "A roda gives us a good note to finish on," explains Pappalardo. "We stand in the circle, clap, sing and play instruments while two people play capoeira in the middle. There is a positive energy in the group, people can feel it."
Their positive energy paid off when celebrated Mestre Marcello came from the U.S. to see how the group was doing so far away from where capoeira began. He was impressed by the practitioners and made them a part of his group, Capoeira Mandinga. "He came here for a workshop in October and 25 people participated; it was truly amazing. Now that we are part of Capoeira Mandinga, we can have a Batizado," tells Pappalardo. He excitedly explains that the latter is a ceremony where disciples receive a corda (belt) and Mestres from all over the world come together to participate in a capoeira show. "This art is still undiscovered by most Chinese even though it's for everybody–older people and kids alike," says Pappalardo. People on the team are living proof that once you come, you'll keep coming back.
What: [Capoeira Shanghai](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/events/13908/)
When: Every Tues., Fri. & Sun.