Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Singing, Dancing, Flips & Fox Games with Capoeira Denver at CelebrARTE

With the FIFA World Cup about to begin, many of us Latinos are thinking of Brazil. If we can’t be in Brazil to see fútbol live, at least we can imagine we are there with some Brazilian capoeira (prounounced cop-away-ra) at CelebrARTE: Tropical with Vampiro and Capoeira Denver. Before then, I thought we’d get to know them a little better.

Madalena Salazar: Hola Vampiro. You and I have been working together to plan for CelebrARTE: Tropical and I’ve gotten to know a bit about you. But one thing I don’t know–you have a pretty unique name. Is there a story behind it? 

Vampiro: I received the nickname Vampiro (Vampire) from my first capoeira teacher. He thought that I look a little like a vampire and he said that my real name, Slade, sounded like a vampire name. I really think it was more because it rhymes with Blade. Nicknames are a tradition in capoeira to help hide your identity.

MS: We are far from the jungles and beaches of Brazil. Could you tell us a little about why you feel it’s important for us to have a place like Capoeira Denver here?  

V: Well, I think there are many benefits to having places like Capoeira Denver here in Colorado. Capoeira Denver creates community and cultural awareness and promotes healthy lifestyle, to name a few things. 

MS: As the programmer of CelebrARTE, I know that the event is always very interactive. I also have heard that capoeira is pretty lively. Could you tell us a little bit more about what to expect at CelebrARTE on June 15? Can anyone “jump in” to capoeira?

V: On the 15th you could expect singing, music, flips, culture, and more. Anyone can jump in. We will be covering the basics during the taller, but if you watch for a little bit you should be able to jump in a "ginga" (the basic step of capoeira).

MS: So, you’ll be going up to talk about capoeira at the Fox Games art installation. What the heck does this contemporary art work have to do with capoeira? 

V: Yes, we will be talking about how some of the playfulness, as well as the fierceness, of Fox Games relates to capoeira. But I don't want to give too much away.

MS: This sounds like it’s going to be such a great summertime experience. I can’t wait for our guests to learn with you. How do you say “see you soon” in Portuguese? 

V: “I will see you soon” is vejo em breve or you might say até mais (until then or until more).

Madalena Salazar is the Latino cultural programs coordinator in the education department at the Denver Art Museum. Madalena has been at the DAM since 2011 and her favorite artwork that has been on view here is Mud Woman Rolls On. This piece reminds her of home, family, and community and serves as inspiration for her practice as a museum educator at the DAM.