Looking Out To Sea

Roda with Glasgow Senzala and Professor Ouriço

The Glasgow Senzala recently had an open roda and workshop with Professor Ourico1. I didn’t make it for the workshop but managed to get there for most of the roda.

I realise only now (about a week later?) that this was probably my first roda as a proper outsider. There was a workshop but I didn’t attend. The group was not an angola group. The leader of the roda was not an angoleiro. I think every roda I have attended in the past at least one of these things has been familiar to me but this time round everything was foreign.

At the time I felt very unsure how much I should “remain true” and how much I should try to compromise for the capoeira that was, to some degree, expected. The music was very fast — should I play fast all the time? That’s not really something I can sustain. I realised soon that it wasn’t something that other people could manage.

The “speed dating” approach to capoeira (as Simon described it, at least) left me unsure how interact. I felt rude buying into a game before it really got started; but then if I didn’t buy in somebody else would and then I’d never get to play. Once I’d cut in there was no chance for the game to warm up and develop; it was just straight in there full speed ahead all the time. And while there may be a time and a place for that I really missed the chance to play a decent length game. (Of course it re-emphasised what I feel is good about the slow development and slower games. I often struggle not to push things to the next level so this is a lesson I would do well to learn!)

I also felt unsure around so many people who seemed unsure themselves, or at least were obviously not experts. Was I being too harsh/aggressive? I’m not a very unpredictable player by any means but unfamiliarity makes everything seem twice as unpredictable — they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. They moved differently so I had a harder time telling the relative levels of expertise.

It’s a tricky one but overall I would definitely like to go for more rodas there because they did things so differently.

  1. This apparently means hedgehog!