Olympic Tribute: Brazilian Capoeira Photoshoot
THE DEADLY DANCE OF CAPOEIRA | Darrin Henry
Rio 2016 Olympics has us captivated! Holding our breath through the gymnastics (how do they not get dizzy), discovering the gripping tension of archery for the first time and flabbergasted by the lightning reaction speeds in volleyball. In terms of the sport Rio’s been fantastic. Usain Bolt last night, electric yet again, and watching South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk set a new 400m world record gave us the bumpy tingles. Yep, Rio 2016 is pretty awesome.
Why The Time Difference With Rio Suits Us
Both Sharon and I have always loved the opening ceremonies. For Rio 2016 we had a very early night, then got up at 11pm to watch the four hour spectacle live with plenty of tea and chocolate biscuits to keep us going. Free internet after midnight meant we could tag along on twitter with the rest of the world, admitting how few countries we actually knew but everyone agreeing Tonga made a lasting impression!
During the ceremony I caught a glimpse of Capoeira, the 500 year old Brazilian martial art, although it’s probably more dance than combat. I’m dead chuffed I can recognise this acrobatic and rhythmic style of movement. Once again I have photography to thank for this surprise cultural education which occurred, of all places, in Greenwich Park, London, exactly five years ago.
We had arranged a portfolio photoshoot with a Capoeira dancer/artist, Renata Martins. YouTube research convinced me we should attempt this outdoors, set against the amazing London skyline. Greenwich Park was one of our favourite leisure spots, especially near the observatory, overlooking the Thames and Canary Wharf skyscrapers. It was August, just on the edge of late summer in England.
This Is Capoeira
Timing was everything. We wanted to catch the sunset light on Canary Wharf but illuminate and freeze Renata’s moves using two strobes.
Once again, careful planning paid off. We nailed our shots through the early dusk window even though it was a bit overcast, working in a semi-secluded spot we’d picked out earlier. Renata was incredible and for more than an hour we were treated to a special, up-close demonstration of the perpetual athleticism and grace of Brazilian Capoeira.
More about Capoeira and its cultural roots can easily be found online, as are videos. But here are just a few of our images from that August evening in the park when a spinning, somersaulting and high kicking Renata introduced us to Brazilian Capoeira.
Right, back to Rio!