The floor is bare and dusty, hastily swept to clear only the largest of debris. The high ceiling that once arched neatly in the middle now sags between wooden ribs. Although one can imagine it caving in as soon as it gets tired enough, the high ceiling will serve to circulate fresh air to the fanatics who will soon congregate below. Only their energy, harnessed in the form of a fiery, graceful martial art, can transform this old gym. The vehemence of capoeira can impart life and power to whatever it touches. In the meantime, the room sleeps, unused and indifferent.
Then they come, people of diverse shapes and sizes and colours, and all that dull stillness changes. The capoeira class falls into the pattern of warm up movements. The gritty floor scrapes against their calloused feet. After an hour of arduous practice, some stretch, some gulp their water desperately, and some apply athlete's tape to their blistered feet.
The capoeiristas gather, tired but enthusiastic, at one end of the ro