International Capoeira Conference opens Thursday

International Capoeira Conference opens Thursday

CHAMPAIGN — The 11th annual International Capoeira Conference, "Senhor Joao, Mestre que da Licao!," will take place Thursday through Sunday at the University of Illinois.

Presented by Contra-Mestre Denis Chiaramonte of Centro Livre Como Vento Capoeira in Champaign and the UI Capoeira Club, the conference will feature Mestre Joao Grande of New York as well as Mestre Marrom and Contra-Mestre Tatiana, both of Rio de Janeiro; Contra-Mestre Beto of Chicago; and others who will lead classes in capoeira, dance and music.

Chiaramonte said it's a special honor to have Mestre Joao Grande visit. At 80 years old, the grand master and student of Mestre Pastinha, who was the founder of Capoeira Angola, has greatly influenced the spread of Capoeira Angola to the rest of the world. Mestre Joao Grande has received numerous awards, among them a doctorate of humane letters from Upsala College and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the most prestigious awards for practitioners of traditional arts in the United States.

The conference will feature classes and workshops all weekend long, many of them open to the public. A free African-Brazilian cultural performance will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday in DRK in a lower level of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., U, and a free children's class will take place at 10 a.m. next Sunday at Centro Livre Como Vento, 221 S. Locust Ave., C.

The entire program of the events is at

Capoeira Angola is an Afro-Brazilian martial art and ritual combat dance widely practiced in Brazil and throughout the world. It combines elements of dance, fight, acrobatics, music, communication and community.

For more information about the conference, contact Chiaramonte at 721-0887 or

The conference is sponsored by the UI Student Organization Resource, paid for by the Student Cultural Programming Fee; the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies; the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; the UI Dance Department; and students of the Centro de Capoeira Livre Como Vento.

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