There are many different styles of capoeira; the two largest are Angola and Regional. Although groups of one style do exist, most groups tend to mix the two styles to some degree. Angola is considered to be the true root style of Capoeira, often characterized by slower, sneakier movements played closer to the ground. Capoeira Angola, in actuality, is played in a great range of speeds, ranging from frenetic high tempo music to much slower, methodical movements and low tempo, hypnotic music. The father of modern Capoeira Angola is considered to be Mestre Pastinha who lived in Salvador, Bahia. Today, most of the Capoeira Angola media that is accessible comes from Mestres in Pastinha’s lineage, but this isn’t to say that he was the only one or that he was the originator. Many others helped in the preservation and propagation of Capoeira Angola, including Mestre Caicara, Mestre Bobo, Mestre Noronho, Besouro Manganga, and others. The Angola style, while emphasizing the traditions and history of Capoeira remains a contemporaneous art in the vibrant street scene found all over Brazil. There is a diversity of styles and players, all of the traditional form, playing or performing in a great range of speeds and testing each other in various academies and in the street. Regional is a newer and more martially-oriented game. Regional was developed by Mestre Bimba to make capoeira more mainstream and accessible to the public, and less associated with the criminal elements of Brazil. While Capoeristas can sometimes play Angola-like, slow games, the Regional style is most often composed of fast, acrobatic, and athletic play. This type of game is characterized by high jumps, acrobatics, and spinning kicks, while maintaining the trickiness and ground-work characteristic of Capoeira Angola. Today, there are many fusion styles, which mix the Angola and Regional traditions. Some refer to this as Capoeira atual, or Capoeira contemporanea. Whether playing Angola or Regional, groups often have different styles of wildly different movements.
If you join a Axé Capoeira , you may eventually have a chance to take place in a batizado, a baptism into the art of Capoeira. At this point, you will normally be given a ‘corda’, a cord belt, as well as your ‘apelido’ or Capoeira nickname. Batizados are great celebrations of Capoeira, and normally a number of groups and masters from nearby or far away areas are invited to the celebration. These ceremonies are a great chance to see a variety of different Capoeira styles, to watch Mestres play, and to see some of the best of the game. these celebrations are open to the public, and they are a great chance for outsiders to learn about the art.