Marina Ziehe

Marina Ziehe

Capoiera: Path to Dialogue


Capoeira is a martial art/game created nearly 500 years ago in Brazil by African slaves. Taken from their homes against their will, they started inventing fighting techniques for self defense. The fighting moves were hidden in a dance to protect its practitioners from punishment.  


Artist statement

It was a very special day when I joined a capoeira class for the first time. Surprisingly, for me, it was in Columbia with the Low Country Capoeira Angola Society Columbia. There were two things that caught my attention. First, nobody was Brazilian. The group was diverse with people from the US, Greece and Guyana. And how beautiful it was that they were able to put their differences aside and build dialogue through this game. The second was a very distinct sound. The lyrics and the beat took me back 500 years ago and got me thinking about how life would be at that time. It was definitely not an easy time for African slaves in Brazil, but through capoeira they experienced hope. 500 years have passed and the sound of freedom still echoes through capoeira’s movement and songs. Although people join capoeira groups for different reasons nowadays, this game still represents hope, a desire for dialogue, justice and happiness. Meeting the Carioca Capoeira Charleston was also very special. Although these two groups do different styles of capoeira, it was interesting to see how they were able to come together so nicely. While the Columbia group practices “capoeira angola” style, which is the older and more traditional form of capoeira, the Charleston group does “capoeira contemporânea,” a modification from the original version with a greater emphasis on fighting technique. In the end, there are so many differences that could be setting these people apart, but what really matters are the things that make them similar. And here is my desire for the world: more understanding, hope and dialogue. 



"The goal in capoeira is not to hit the opponent, but to establish a connection. I want Path to Dialogue to capture ways that capoeira builds a dialogue between cultures."


Curated Song List

A Bananeira Caiu
A Manteiga Derramou
Oi Sim Sim
Berimbau Meu, Berimbau Meu
Capoeira de Angola
Gunga e Meu
Jogo de Dentro, Jogo de Fora
Onde Vai Caima
Paranaue, Parana