Learning Capoeira is in itself a transformative experience; teaching it in a social enterprise, a whole different ball game. This is the initiative that Capoeira For All has taken—the desire to bring Capoeira to a main stream audience, but also to give others access to this culturally rich sport. Founded in 2014, Capoeira For All CiC, a non profit and social enterprise, has been running a variety of programs in the UK, particularly in the Northwest region of the country. They participate in and host community events and collaborate with other non profits to make Capoeira accessible to all in their community.
Capoeira itself is an ancient Afro-Brazilian art form that combines dance, movement, martial arts, music and play. It has a rich history and dates back to the 1500s in Colonial Brazil when Portuguese migrants enslaved Africans, who created this sport as a means of survival against slave owners. This art form, rich in its history, at one time was outlawed by the government of Brazil who feared Capoeiristas (practitioners of Capoeira) and their skill. In 2014, Capoeira was granted Cultural Heritage status by Unesco, the UN’s cultural arm, cementing its history and significance for the Brazilian people and practitioners of this art.
In the last decade, Capoeira has grown all over the world. It was in this growth that founding directors Akil Morgan and Michael Horsley saw an opportunity. They felt the need to expand access to Capoeira to those who may never have a chance to experience it. By using the values, ethos and practice of Capoeira for positive social change, they have introduced capoeira to schools for disabled children, to community cultural celebrations, and they have used it to teach marginalised young people employability and personal development skills. In a four-week pilot project, instructors taught at risk youth capoeira. A key objective of the pilot was to see how the young people responded to Capoeira as a medium to explore other issues and themes around employment and enterprise. Capoeira was able to enhance the confidence, resilience, and team working skills of the youth, all through the instruction of this sport and art form.
Like any true social enterprise, sustainability is the core behind Capoeira For All’s business model. By offering a range of different educational programmes, corporate workshops and bespoke shows (to name just a few), their cross-sector approach enables them to really compete with local businesses alike, whilst at the same time give back to the community by providing classes to marginalized youth, so that more people can experience this amazing art.
For the founders of Capoeira For All, the future is bright and promising. Most importantly, they can bring the art form they love to the community and neighbourhoods they live in, helping others to improve their lives, one movement at a time.