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August 16, 2007 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-08-16

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Afro-Brazilian movement
invigorates whole body.

Suzanne Chessler
Special to the Jewish News


Baz Michaeli shows the flexibility.

Baz Michaeli

Students hone their Capoeira skills.

Michaeli started teaching Capoeira at
the Franklin Athletic Club after being
hired as a day camp counselor by Itzi Saar,
fitness director.
"I was familiar with Capoeira, and
I thought it would be a great addition
to our program;' says Saar. "It helps
strengthen the whole body." Smalis was at
the Michigan Renaissance Festival when
Capoeira caught Saar's attention. Later,
after getting a letter from Michaeli about
the possibility of teaching it, Saar decided
to go ahead with a class.
"My studio used to offer Tae Kwon Do,
but I really didn't like it," she says. "I think
Capoeira is cool!'
Michaeli, who moved to the United
States from Israel two years ago, has vis-
ited Brazil to watch authentic Capoeistas.
He motivated his dad, Ofer, and stepmoth-
er, Lori Gordon-Michaeli, to take up his
favorite activity.
"It's a lot of fun and something every-
body can de says Gordon-Michaeli, 45, a
Michigan native who lived in Israel for 25
years before moving back to be with fam-
ily."It took Baz a long time to convince me

arah Green, an Eastern Michigan
University sophomore headed
for a career in education, scouts
new opportunities to learn and recently
became captivated with Capoeira, an Afro-
Brazilian movement that mixes choreogra-
phy with the martial arts.
Green, 19, who has tried all sorts of
dance styles, saw a demonstration of
Capoeira on television and soon found
a class at the Franklin Athletic Club in
Southfield, where she and her family have
been long-time members.
The college student enrolled and now
uses the distinctive approach as part of
her fitness routine.
"I've learned how to radiate energy
by working on Capoeira," Green says. "It
offers so many special moves without
being a contact sport, and I've found it
very relaxing."
Green's classes are taught by Baz
Michaeli, who mastered the art in Israel
and also is introducing it at Laurie Smalis'
Positive Attitude Dance Academy
in Farmington.
The art form, which puts
participants in a circle and then
encourages them to perform on
their own or in pairs, is accom-
panied by Portuguese songs and
South American rhythms played
on special instruments.
Capoeira was created in the
19th century by Brazilian slaves,
who first used the moves for
their own defense. Advanced par-
ticipants, dressed in white outfits
with special belts, complete acro-
Baz Michaeli, right, with Rick Kinert, who teaches
batic training.
Capoeria in Ypsilanti
"A group had demonstrated
Capoeira at the junior high school
I attended, and the instructors seemed so
to try it, but I go at my own pace without
strong," says Michaeli, 21, about the begin-
doing acrobatics.
ning of his interest.
"Capoeira is huge in Israel, and it's a
"I liked that there's a social life and
sight to see because it's so much more
respect shared by the people who are
than a workout. I've had between 40 and
involved, and I've met Capoeira fans
50 Capoeistas for an afternoon barbecue
throughout Michigan and from other
at our home, and it was a wonderful

August 16 • 2007


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