Visiting St. Petersburg

Instrutor Rouxinol in front of The Hermitage

The first weekend of September 2010, Compasso and Oceanica organised their first Capoeira Event with their group Capoeira Sem Parar in Saint Petersburg.
For this event I was kindly invited to give capoeira lessons, including a music lesson and a lecture.
Fortunately I could arrive a few days beforehand to be able to see a bit of the big city St. Petersburg with it's many churches, theathers, museums and even metrostations beeing worth a visit.

The Cathedral of The Ressurection

I was well received and in a short time, did nice tours within the city seeing several notefull buildings incluiding The Hermitage.
The sheer size of this museum dwarfs many museums in the world and with its many decorated halls it's surely a place to visit for anyone who is into art.

Compasso in The Hermitage next to a painting of Leonardo DaVinci

Reading Cyrillic and speaking at least a bit of Russian, I think, is truely a must if you ever feel like visiting Russia by yourself.
Not everyone speaks or understands english.
During my workshops I had the wonderfull help of Beija-Flor who had her hands full with translating everything in Russian,
especially during my lecture.

Lecture Instrutor Rouxinol - This part was about Agenor Sampaio: Mestre Sinhozinho - Foto: Botafogo

The day after my arrival, we visited an open anniversary roda organised by Seth from the Cordão de Ouro group of Sint Petersburg where I had the chance to see capoeira in Russia, live for the first time. Other groups where also present like Artes de Gingar and Mundo Capoeira and it was nice to see the interaction between all groups.
I was very pleased with the atmosphere as well as the level of capoeira.
Although capoeira in St Petersburg is relatively young within capoeira in comparisson to Western Europe (in my estimation), through good lessons, dedication and a big usage of youtube, I saw already a nice level of transformation capabilities within the games. This also helped me to decide what would be the emphasis of my lessons during the workshop weekend.

On Friday there was the open introduction roda of the event and it was nice to see several people who I had met on the open roda beforehand.
Before the roda started, I shared some capoeira songs with the people present who caught up quite fast. To my pleasant surprise there where several people who where familiar with my songs, which made singing of them in the roda easier.
A special thanks goes out to graduado Espada who introduced some of my songs in Russia, years before.

Instrutor Rouxinol singing and playing berimbau - Foto: Botafogo

On Saturday I started around 12:30 with a lecture about capoeira, talking about a few topics including: Pioneers within capoeira (telling a bit about people like Mestre Sinhozinho, Mestre Canjiquinha, Mestre Artur Emídio and others) and the role that Rio de Janeiro played for the development of capoeira (telling also about Ciríaco, the first books published about capoeira and the symposia that where held in the 60s there)

After that I gave two capoeira lessons, first explaining the concept of Benguela and it's differences with São Bento Grande, and time flew by. I introduced some transformations that I did not had seen people do yet in the rodas there before, which would help develop a new side of capoeira for the people participating.

With time people picked up the transformations and combinations, while I showed examples of usage of these transformations during class. At the end of the class it was funny to see the expression of some who asked: Why are we already stopping?, when I showed them the clock showing it was already 7 p.m.
Capoeira can sometimes bring you in a state where you feed of capoeira itself and have less an urge for rest and food.
During the day it was also nice to see people taking notes during the lecture and after class, asking questions etc. This way they where profitting to a maximum extend, which I also recommended them to do, but which many would already have done without me advising anyway.

Instrutor Rouxinol giving a sequence during class with a counter of Gancho do Chão - Foto: Botafogo

The second day started with a lecture. This time emphasizing the inlands of Bahia or Recôncavo Baiano and the several masters that came from this region, including Mestres Traíra, Caiçara, Cobrinha Verde, Artur Emídio and Mario Santos. Not forgetting people currently active there, like Mestres Felipe Adó and Ivan.
After this there was a music lesson where I taught songs and also explained and taught how to do variations of rhythms on the berimbau, ending with playing berimbau together and singing.
For this occasion I sung a few songs, as a Hommage to Mestre Mario Santos, that where masterfully recorded by his group Bonfim, decades ago.
This day a few people participated who I hadn't seen the day before. I pretended to do a quick rerun of the training of the day before, before going to extentions of that training plus some new combinations. But to my pleasant suprise, people where already doing the sequences of the training I gave the day before when I entered the gym and even taught them to the people who missed the training on Saturday. It was nice to see the eagerness and these results on such short notice.

A tv crew doing a documentary about capoeira came by and filmed some of my lessons and also the roda afterwards, where later the more advanced capoeiristas demonstrated their skills. Before creating the roda on the end, everybody got a change to play a few times, spread out in the gym and with each game I saw more of the characteristics I had talked about beeing developped. At the end we made a roda full of energy standing close to eachother to absorb as much as possible of it.

The Russian Edition of the second book of Instrutor Rouxinol - Cover Design: Oceanica

Before going home the participants received the first edition of my second book about capoeira, translated in Russian with the help of Compasso and Oceanica, which explains songs, their purpose, certain divisions, roots and double meanings.

Excerpt of the second book of Instrutor Rouxinol in Russian, talking about the connected trinity in the roda, capable of creating harmony

Anyone interested in the Russian version of this book: please contact Compasso or Oceanica of Capoeira Sem Parar - St. Petersburg

I would like to thank Compasso and Oceanica for the invitation and the good care, and all the participants
for participating, giving their positive energy and dedication towards capoeira.



A Metrostation in St. Petersburg