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For more than 200 years thousands of people from different African nations were sent to slavery in Brazil. Most of them originated from Portugal’s former colony Angola, where large ports were situated. Different ethnical groups were gathered to these ports including nagô, bantu, gege, joruba etc.
Being far from their native land these slaves joined to stand against the hardships of slavery and regain their freedom. The cultural mixture that was born out of this merging was also influenced not only by the experiences of the new country, but also by portuguese culture and brazilian indians.
This confluence became the strongest cultural current in Brazil today known as Afro-Brazilian culture containing candomblé, samba, batuque, maracatu, the reisados, the afoxés, maculelê etc.. and that which interests us most, capoeira.
Capoeira was born in Brazil out of the mixture of different African cultures that joined forces for the noblest of causes, freedom. Like other slave promoted cultures capoeira was for a long time prohibited by the Brazilian governments. Due to the fact that it was related to criminal malandros and slave gangs it was banned for longer than other cultural movements.
In 1934 during Getulio Vargas’s nationalism the ban was lifted from capoeira, but it came with a price – major changes took place in its legacy. These were applied by Mestre Bimba who created Luta Regional Baiana which was inspired by capoeira, but was using many movements from other marcial arts. This development gave rise to what today is known as capoeira Regional.
Meanwhile the practitioners of traditional capoeira led by Mestre Pastinha wished to protect the original capoeira, capoeira of the black angolans – CAPOEIRA ANGOLA.
In the 50-s and 60-s capoeira was not spared by Brazilian economic growth. To accommodate the growing demands of tourism and taking into account the capoeiristas’ wish to make more money they started adding circus and gymnastics tricks like sommersaults and other acrobatics to their performances to make capoeira more spectacular. This kind of capoeira is today known as capoeira contemporânea, the contemporary capoeira.
CAPOEIRA ANGOLA, the mother-capoeira, is seriously struggling culturally, socially and politically to preserve its roots, rituals and movements that have been inspired by nature.
Practicing this art form capoeirista angoleiro also learns to perform spectacular movements, but these are very different from the gymnastics techniques. He will learn the movements that have foundation, reason and a specific role in the game.
Capoeira Angola is a game that consists of questions and answers played by using body language that allows everybody to express themselves in a place called roda.
A fight, a dance, a game, music, singing, ritual and cultural heritage - all of these make part of CAPOEIRA ANGOLA.
-Translation from M Dorado's text.-
Dorado (Bernardo Tinoco) was born in Rio de Janeiro on the 25th April 1974. He received his nickname from Mestre Marrom whom he started learning capoeira with in the 90-s on Travessa Angrense, which was the old location for Centro Cultural Senzala which Marrom was a member of.
Being Mestre Marrom’s dedicated student Dorado went along with the change towards capoeira Angola. He took part of all the courses led by Mestre Marrom and the rodas organized by the group Capoeira Angola Marrom e Alunos.
Having received his diploma in journalism from the university of PUC-RJ Dorado started actively working in the capoeira world by Mestre Marrom's side helping him administer classes in the school of Acalanto from 1994 on, still continuing his studies.
These days working with capoeira did not offer any financial means, but these were good lessons that motivated him to train even more. Dorado took part of different performances led by Mestre Marrom in the schools and culture centres in Rio de Janeiro.
Along with his great friend Marcelo „Negão“ they started working in the school of Samba Vila Rica that was located in the Tabajaras favela behind Copacabana. This work bore fruits, rodas were held and frequented by renowned mestres like Mestre Angolinha who inspired and helped Dorado in his work. Then when Marcelo „Negão“ died these courses ended. In 1996 with his friend Garça, also a capoeira teacher, he continued his social work in Morro de Babilônia in Leme favela. There were outstanding moments there like when the late Mestre Mucungê visited.
Dorado started his first paid capoeira work in Viva Mais cultural centre where he gave classes until the centre was closed in 2001. This was a place of achievements, learning and friendship.
Dorado and the children’s trainings in Brasil
From 1996 until 1998 Dorado taught children in Santa Rosa de Lima college at the same time helping Mestre Marrom teach adults. Those days the association had a place in Parque Lage, in the botanical quarter of Rio de Janeiro.
In 1998 Dorado started working in Tijuca school with Oga Mitá children from 4 years up, with youngsters and adults and organized rodas on Saens Peña square where different masters of Rio de Janeiro like Mestre Russo also showed up.
Dorado also worked in Santa Tereza, Casa Monte Alegre, in Britânica school and later in cultural centre-cafe called Café Cultural-Academia Gisele Tapias.
At the same time he was acquiring the psychomotorics speciality in IBMR institute basing his studies on movement techniques that he developed working with 2-year-old children in Casa Monte Alegre.
Dorado and Mestre Gato Preto
In 1997 Dorado started crafting his own capoeira instruments: atabaques, berimbaus, recorecos, agogôs and other percussion instruments. He met Mestre Gato Preto in 1998 and took part of his courses in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. He participated in recording Mestre Gato Preto’s CD and started researching and interviewing the Mestre to write his biography. His research took him to Santo Amaro da Purificação where he met this region’s great maculelê personality called dona Zilda Paim, the author of the book „Relicario popular“.
Dorado also went to São Braz, the birth place of Mestre Gato Preto for a number of interviews to use in his book. You can hear the interviews here:
In 2000 he took part of the roda of Caxias led by Mestre Russo whom he befriended. With Dorado's participation Mestre Russo has written a book called „Expressões da Roda Livre“ that talks about the glorious history of the creation of the street roda with the longest traditions in Rio de Janeiro. During his capoeira studies Dorado has met many masters who by now have become real friends. To name a few: Mestre Angolinha, Mestre Nó, Mestre Claudio de Feira Santana, Mestre Camaleão, Mestre Formiga, Mestre Manoel, Mestre Zé Bahiano, Mestre Dominguinhos, Contra Mestre Baba, Mestre Cobrinha, Mestre Jurandir, Mestre Boca Rica, Mestre Brandão, Mestre Felipe de Santo Amaro, not to name his friends and fellow capoeiristas of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Europe where Dorado came to develop Capoeira Angola.
During one of his visits to Europe Mestre Marrom went to Bordeaux where capoeiristas
started to like the art and proposed to create a capoeira Angola association there. Dorado, invited by Mestre Marrom, settled down in Bordeaux to promote and organize Capoeira Angola. He left his students in Brasil with „Borracha“ and other students of Mestre Marrom to teach.
From the year 2002 Mestre Dorado develops Capoeira Angola in Bordeaux having foundations in Mestre Marrom’s teaching methods and Mestre Gato Preto’s core truths and rituals.