Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

When the Music and the body become one

February 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

“Head down, as I watch my feet take turns hitting the ground”……. The Instructor tells me to look in his eyes, never at the ground, because you never know when your opponent can strike. As a Capoeirista you owe it to yourself, the instructor, your opponent, the Bid-im-bow, and the Rhoda to focus and properly carryout the culture of Capoeira.  My first day of Capoeira was about 5 months ago, but I still remember that class as if it was yesterday. I walked into class really not knowing what to expect, other than a few sightings and Venice beach and playing the game Tekken, with Eddy Guardo being one of my favorite characters, I really wasn’t sure what Capoeira was.

The only reason why I entered the class in the first place was because a few days before, I was informed about the signing up for Societies in the LCR. Apart from ACS (Afro-Caribbean Society) nothing really caught my interest, until a student jumped out in front of my face and said, “Ever try Capoeira.” Instantly my mind took me back about a good 12 years when I was at the beach with my family. I was running around in the sand, burying one of my Spiderman toys when I heard faint drumming in the distance. Normally I equated the sounds of drums to West African dance because I had been trained in it since the age of four. But as my feet coerced themselves into the sand the noise became louder. Once I arrived at the sound I discovered a circle of people looking like they were “break dance fighting.” I immediately became intrigued, flares, kicks, and a rhythmic swaying contributed to this foreign sight where the music and the body served as the inspiration for the movement. Once I returned back to my reality I put my name on the list immediately.

Walking into that class that day took me all the way back to when I was 8 because I was going in with the exact same curiosity. We began class by running around and getting our cardio up. We warmed up each of our muscles carefully and attentively as to not betray our bodies because in the latter part of class we would get more physical. As we went through the warm up I realized that Capoeira was going to feel very familiar to me, because as a dancer I was used to moving my body with the sound of music, I would just need to learn this new style and adapt to the movement and music as best as I could.

The instructor gave us the basic movement a swaying motion back and forth switching you weight from right to left, this movement is called “GInga.”  The Ginga is the most fundamental part of Capoeira because it provides you the basic fundamental movement that you need in order to play Capoeira. The second major purpose of the Ginga is that it determines your own style, and no one persons Ginga is the same as another’s and once you have acquired your own Ginga you can begin to further explore the culture of Capoeira. Of all the classes I have taken the first one was my favorite because it seemed like second nature, and the instructor really challenged me to push through and not be inhibited by those more advanced than myself.

In the last portion of class the instructor gathered us all up in order to form a “Rhoda” (the circle in which Capoeira takes place. He named the various instruments used in the “Rhoda” some familiar some foreign and discussed the importance of the songs and the role they play in Copoiera. Once we learned a few hymns two people bent down, faced each other in the Rhoda, cart wheeled  in and my curiosity began to take me on my journey. I was infatuated with the whole culture of Capoeira, and as the music and body became one, a new vocabulary of movement was opened up to me that I had not yet known existed.

Tags: Anthony · Uncategorized

UEA Days (an update on my life since London)

September 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Well hello, family, friends, Qualls, and anyone else who chances to read this brief update on my days at uni.


Here at UEA I have each of my two UEA classes for two hours once a week, my Dickinson Humanities course once a week, and Art Society once a week for two hours. Here is a brief layout of my days:

Monday: Revisioning the Norwich School of Painters art history course, 1pm-4pm in town at the Castle Museum. We spend most of our time in the two main galleries, Crome and Cotman looking at the original works by the NSP and discussing the ‘genre’ of landscape art, its development, relevance, and current state. There are a total of eight students in this seminar course, and I am the ONLY international student, and the only student who was not in the course with these seven other students last term.

Wednesday: Cultural Theory and Analysis English literature course, 12pm-2pm in the main arts building. This course is about 15-20 students, all second year lit, philosophy, or art history majors. I am one of MANY Americans in the class. It seems like this course will look at various literary theorists (YAY!) and work towards answering the question, what is culture?

one of my still life drawings from Art Soc

One of my still life drawings from Art Soc

Somewhere else during the week my 310 Dickinson Humanities course will meet for about two hours. And on various days Art Society (Art Soc) meets for two hours of open studio to work on various projects the club has set up. The first week we met we did telephone with drawing where two students drew the still life and the the rest of the students lined up behind them and drew another student’s drawing and so on and so on. After that we broke up into pairs and drew each others’ portraits. This week we was Life Drawing where we had a nude model. I worked with charcoal. She did various poses (which I thought could have been better) for increments of 5, 10, and 15 minutes while we all drew her.


Me after the Rubix Cube Social posing near The Village sign

Me after the Rubix Cube Social posing near The Village sign

I live in Courtyard A which is one of several dorm style buildings in University Village. My flat is a long hallway which branches off into a kitchen/common space, and six single bedrooms. I live with two other girls, and three other boys.

The bed nook of my room

The bed nook of my room

There is one other international student in my flat and he is from Kazakhstan. I cook myself and several other of my friends dinner every night. We eat out very infrequently to save money. We get our stipends once a week and usually food shop that same day.


Our program provides us with a year long bus pass. I take full advantage of that and ride the bus for about 20 minutes at least 4 times a week into the city center of town. There I can find several Starbucks, thank goodness, shopping malls, grocery stores, and various other cosmopolitain things.

Thus ends the update. Enjoy!

Tags: Megan