Weekly capoeira classes involving refugees with locals (for both men and women together)
were taking place in Pabrades “Ryto” gymnasium in a city, where one of the refugees reception centres is located. Continuous and inclusive workshops were lead by an energetic Capoeira instructor Audrius Kiuberis from “Kaunas Capoeira” where refugees and locals got the opportunity to learn basic capoeira skills. Idea behind all of it, was belief that Capoeira is a perfect tool for connecting community.
Some participants joined out of curiosity, others were brought along by their friends & some simply wanted to join the workshop as a means of exploring this new activity. Different age, gender, locals & refugees from Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Sri Lanka joined the workshops.
Everything has started with getting to know each other activities, learning about Capoeira movements, it’s history & setting up personal goals.
For those who doesn’t know, Capoeira consists of a lot of singing. At the beginning all of this this requires a lot of courage and effort for many in order to overcome inner “obstacles”. However as a collective, everyone confidence grew with increasing mutual support one of another. That is exactly what “Capoeira” teaches through practice – VALUES – the basis, how to not be afraid of being yourself, not be afraid of making mistakes, to enable and empower each other through support & as a result to become stronger and to grow together.
At first glance it may seem that “Capoeira” is simply an intense physical training and that “Capoeira” dancers are dangerous acrobats, nevertheless, the essence of it is the sense of community – encompassing force. Capoeira instructor to whom it’s important to maintain a balance between firmness and openness, teaches people not just discipline during the classes but also mutual respect. Capoeira as well teaches us social skills and helps people overcome social barriers, especially in this age when most tend to isolate themselves both physically & emotionally by shifting their lives on social platforms – on their smart phones.
Capoeira workshops is a living proof that it takes less than a few months in order to discover an connection with others, when we concentrate our attention on what we have in common. During all those 14 workshops a lot of things have happened. All of the strangers feel much more stronger, faster, most importantly, more like a community now. It all started with a circle of around 30 people. Men and women, girls and boys, tall and short, coming from so many different countries. Yet everyone rejoiced at their first attempts at singing or hand standing. So many things learnt, so many still left to improve.