Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to you. Waiting for the “right time” to write never did it for me after all, especially now that my mornings are all but taken up by dancing until mid-afternoon… But I’ll tell you, it’s exhilarating to be able to dance that much (unless my toes give out under the rigors of ballet — I’m currently taking time off those classes to heal my metatarsophalangeal joints back to their original size) and I’ve decided to make that and Capoeira my focus. In a few more weeks, Martha Graham Dance Co. from New York will be giving a Graham Technique and repertoire workshop for the dance company I train with, Kanopy Dance Company, and I’m very excited about it. I especially like being able to be a student under people that have completely dedicated their lives to their art. After fourteen years of living Capoeira as the hard-to-control-bastard-child (I wasn’t one of his “original” kids) of Teacher’s, it’s refreshing to have somebody care about your progress for your own sake, and not because it looks good on the group or will translate into monetary profit or used as emotional leverage at some point in time.
When I left that group, my love for Capoeira was broken. Tainted. I didn’t feel the passion that once fueled my intensity and propelled my body through space and my feet sharply through the air when I played. I had reached a point where whenever I had to teach classes, instead of growing excited, I stressed out. The last four times before my last night teaching I had forgotten my abadá somewhere and I didn’t even care that I did… You get the picture. But why now, after so long? Well, friend.. I had wanted to quit for the last ten years. I grew tired of Teacher’s mind games. His hypocrisy. His lack of support and two-facedness. His greed. His obsession with control. Of the people he was starting to affiliate with. Of the “we’re a family” rap. Year after year I’d hear the same rhetoric recited verbatim only to then hear / experience a completely different message afterward, passively-aggressively directed to those of us who “spoke his language” as a reminder of “how things really were.” This put me in a bad mood constantly, as I was always stressed out and steadily grew conflicted between what I thought I should do and what Teacher wanted, and the dynamic of working that way for years was affecting my relationship with my oldest students, who in the end sided with him. If they knew what I know maybe the colours around their waists would be different today…
In the end this proved to be a blessing, for it pushed me to reconnect with the milliard of contacts I knew and to follow my instinct more readily. I embraced Yoga and Dance and it has also changed drastically the way I look at Capoeira. Capoeira is meant to be freeing, not to be controlled or be used as a tool to control others; and it evolves as much as it helps us evolve ourselves. Capoeira is not animals’ piss marking what counts as territory and especially not as a tool to belittle or “teach a lesson” to anybody. Capoeira is education, is dialogue, it’s the art of possibility.
The more I do it today, the more I enjoy it; and I feel like I did fourteen years ago again — HUNGRY FOR IT. With the desire to spread a positive message of: possibility. Capoeira teaches us how to deal with life situations in a beautiful, creative, present, and playful way. The roda is a simulation of our own life, and like an old friend and colleague likes to emphasize in his classes, “the way you train is the way you’ll play.”
I have to leave, dear friend, for dance. I really wanted to talk to you about water and flow and weight and weightlessness but that’ll have to be for my next missive which I intend to send your way soon.
I Miss You.