When two practiced athletes engage one another in the Brazilian art of capoeira, it’s a sight to behold. At first blush, the practice seems to be some sort of nonviolent martial art with aerial kicks and backflips, though with closer inspection, its underlying influences of acrobatics, dance, and rhythmic problem-solving become obvious, as the two capoeiraistas lock minds in a state of fluid improvisation, rather than competition. The history of the medium intertwines with hundreds of years of Brazilian culture, originating with slaves that were brought from Africa to harvest sugar and tobacco and blossoming into an outlet for cultural expression and political protest.
Baz Michaeli founded The Michigan Center for Capoeira in February of 2007 as a way to introduce the sport to his community and preserve its cultural traditions, garnering attention from press outlets such as the Farmington Observer and Jewish News. Baz is certified as a capoeira instructor as well as a ACSM personal trainer, and challenges newcomers of every ability level to improve their flexibility, endurance, and mental strategizing by participating in a class. The center assembles at the Franklin Athletic Club and Troy Dance Studio, and interested participants should take a look at the calendar for an idea of upcoming class times and locations.