CAPOEIRA, A SPECTATOR SPORT?!
CORPORATE SPONSORED CAPOEIRA
A few months ago the talk of the town was the Red Bull Vadiando event “Paranauê” and if Capoeira will benefit from it or not. The event has brought to light a lot of discussions about the role of large organizations in capoeira and as someone in the community I want to make sure we are well equipped to handle the next steps. I think whether or not this will benefit capoeira is dependent on a few things…
The idea of capoeira as a spectator sport was always present in my mind. We always do presentations, but can we captivate audiences for hours at a time? That’s the question. Regarding Paranauê, what was the viewership of the event in Brazil and other parts of the world? Are people actually watching this? Do people care? and if so, what else can be done to make sure Capoeira can make the transition from something that only capoeiristas watch to something like a spectator sport? This seems high in the sky when you look at our physical attendance numbers at events, which are pretty small most of the time, but there might be some potential to increase those numbers with the correct event formatting and something like a twitch live stream where you can reach a larger audience.
WHAT DOES RED BULL WANT?
I think what Red Bull wanted is to see if Capoeira would be the next big sport that could go viral all over the world and reach the popularity of other non-traditional sports like tricking, parkour, etc. I happen to believe that the potential is there, but the only way we could see that kind of explosion in interest is if there was also a large growth in content and people creating things related to capoeira and with better quality that is done now (i.e. Vertical iPhone videos – the lowest common denominator of video production quality). We need to think about production value when creating videos of our events. And not just videos. Blogs, designs, and other products that carry the capoeira stamp on them build us as a brand. If Red Bull Paranauê got good viewership, then maybe they will be willing to do a second event, but of course any costs will need to be justified by a large audience or something like increased red bull sales after the event. The benefits to Red Bull or any other organization have to be clear before there are any further investments, I think that much is pretty obvious. What is not obvious is what we the capoeiristas are doing to make that investment worthwhile.
What will happen to Rato? I honestly don’t know anything about this guy Rato, first off we know he’s from Bahia, but that’s about it. It’s a cute story that he won because he’s from Bahia, but besides that I would like to know things like where he trains, who his teacher is, does he teach? does he have a twitter? A YouTube channel? does he blog? What else can we do to develop the identity of Rato and make him into a figure for the community? Which is another question – should he be a figure in the community? Does the community want that? I don’t know, but that doesn’t mean that we should try to raise up our brothers (and sister) who came out and represented capoeira by promoting them however we can. Maybe this guy should have a twitter to promote his capoeira or even just himself. I don’t know but it would be great if there was a way to follow these people.
I think that out of this event we as a community will be tested to see how far we can take it. The Paranauê event did help to promote capoeira, probably more so in Brazil than anywhere else, but this doesn’t mean that a similar event couldn’t happen in any other country or that we couldn’t use it as a spring board for future events. What I would really like to see is some sort of documentary about Rato and the time he will have going to New York to train with Mestre João Grande (his prize for winning the event). Anything that would create avenues where people can find out about capoeira would be a big help to us as a community.
Sponsorship by Red Bull would be a big deal, but I’m not so sure how close we are to any major brand sponsoring our events or even players – I think that question is still very much in the air. It’s the dream, but the dream might be further off than we think, and I think this will be dependent on our collective efforts rather than waiting for another gift like paranauê to fall out of the sky. If you love capoeira, then you should think about what skills you have to produce content for it. Your teacher most likely won’t ask you about this, so if you’re new, then go ask what you can do, or if they’re ok with you doing ___. Likewise, teachers! Your students are awesome and talented, include them in content creation projects.
If you need ideas message me, but remember that this is an ongoing effort, not just for you, but for capoeira everywhere.
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One of the judges of the Red Bull Paranauê event visited the Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey this past weekend for a workshop. Mestre Nenel, a leader in the world of Capoeira Regional shared his views on the event as well as answered a few questions from those who took his workshop. Stay tuned for future posts, where I will be including a translation of the questions that were asked and the answers he gave.