Guests interact with students at Carl Cozier Elementary during an assembly about Capoeira.

Thanks to a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America grant and Kuntz and Company, a local performing arts organization, the art and ritual of Brazilian capoeira was brought to the school during a recent assembly.

According to the International Capoeira Angola Foundation website, capoeira “is an Afro-Brazilian art form — a fluid, rhythmic martial art; a ritual; a dance of deceptive vulnerability, wit, and grace. The intricate movements of Capoeira Angola weave tradition, history, spirituality, and philosophy into a uniquely beautiful “game.” Like many African-based traditions, it is orally transmitted from masters (mestres) to students.”

Silvio Aleixo Dos Reis, also known as Mestre Silvinho, led the recent assembly where he introduced the students to songs, movements and musical instruments.

Integrating the study of capoeira into the International Baccalaureate (IB)/ Primary Years Program (PYP) at Carl Cozier was easy given the long history of this dance/martial arts form. Aside from the introduction of the movement, song and instruments, fifth graders at the school related it to their IB/PYP unit of study on “How we organize ourselves: Humans colonize for a variety of reasons with a wide array of consequences.”

The performance is thanks in part to the NEA grant and local contributions from Allied Arts of Whatcom County, Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, the Co-Op, and the Whatcom Family and Community Network. Kuntz and Company plans to bring more dance experiences to Carl Cozier students in the future.


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