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A Fight-Like Dance

Admittedly, Capoeira isn’t for everyone. The Afro--Brazilian martial art features leg sweeps, handstands, and acrobatic exchanges between two sparring practitioners who are encircled by fellow capoeiristas and a mix of song, rhythm, and ceremony. The art — described as a dance-like fight and a fight-like dance — dates to the 1700s in Brazil. Today, capoeiristas can be found circling up in their rodas (pronounced ho-dahs) in most major American cities and in many college towns.A capoeirista for more than 20 years, Robert H. Moser, 41, is a professor of Portuguese and Brazilian studies and the former faculty sponsor for the campus Capoeira group at the University of Georgia in Athens. He first found his way into the fray as an undergraduate in Berkeley, California. “I’d always wanted to do some kind of martial art, and I knew I’d be spending a year studying in Brazil.” He began to train with a mestre, a master, in San Francisco in 1988. “I couldn’t get enough. I would drive two hours on a weeknight to get to class.” He continued his training during the year that he lived abroad in Sao Paulo.The Messa …

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