‘Lit­tle Brazil’ can be found at cen­ter in heart of Kyiv

Kyiv Post - - Business - BY VERONIKA MELKOZE­ROVA MELKOZE­[email protected] Kyiv Post writer Veronika Melkoze­rova can be reached at melkoze­[email protected] com

Alina Kabakova, a tall, curly-haired, mixed-race woman, is a na­tive of Kyiv, but she has a hard time con­vinc­ing oth­ers.

“Even Brazil­ians think I am from their coun­try. But I have no Brazil­ian blood in me,” Kabakova said.

Another rea­son for the con­fu­sion is her work­place: The gym­na­sium of the Casa do Brazil academy, which teaches Brazil­ian cul­ture, mu­sic and fight­ing tech­niques.

Kabakova is an ex­pe­ri­enced in­struc­tor of capoeira, the Brazil­ian mar­tial art, which looks more like a hyp­notic dance than a fight. The woman fell in love with Brazil 10 years ago and, last year, started the first academy of the capoeira in Ukraine. She named it “Casa do Brazil” (Brazil­ian House). Since then, it has be­come a casa for more than 100 Ukraini­ans who are study­ing the mar­tial art.

“Ev­ery year our stu­dents fight for another cord and grade. It is like a level belt in karate,” Kabakova says. “Its called pati­sada if a stu­dent gets his first cord, and tro­hachicorda is a cer­e­mony of chang­ing cords. The mestre (master) from Brazil usu­ally comes to judge such cer­e­monies,” ex­plained Kabakova. Alina Kabakova (mid­dle) plays mu­sic with her stu­dents dur­ing capoeira train­ing in Casa do Brazil academy in Kyiv on Sept 22. (Volodymyr Petrov)

The big hall, which is lo­cated in the old build­ing of Mala Opera on De­ht­yarivska Street in Kyiv, is cov­ered with Brazil­ian and Ukrainian flags.

To the rhythms of Brazil­ian drums, Kabako­vas stu­dents train.

“There are dif­fer­ent peo­ple among my stu­dents - kids from three to 14 and adults of var­i­ous pro­fes­sions. For ex­am­ple, Ira is from the new pa­trol po­lice of Kyiv, Ser­hiy is a driv­ing in­struc­tor, An­driy is a mer­chan­diser and Dyma has his own firm,” said Kabakova.

There are from four to six train­ing ses­sions daily. Two pro­fes­sional in­struc­tors, ex­cept Kabakova, work with stu­dents in the academy on De­ht­yarivska and in its af­fil­i­a­tion for kids only in Troeschyna neigh­bor­hood of Kyiv.

“I was giv­ing capoeira lessons for five years, but deep in my soul I al­ways knew that to study the Brazil­ian phi­los­o­phy of fight prop­erly, I need a spe­cial place where any­one could play the per­cus­sion, dance Brazil­ian dances – forro, samba – study Por­tuguese, watch Brazil­ian movies and, of course, capoeira,” Kabakova said.

In “Casa do Brazil,” the stu­dents learn not only how to fight as Brazil­ians, but also Brazil­ian dance and mu­sic. Por­tuguese lessons are also given. All ser­vices come at the monthly price of Hr 400 for chil­dren and Hr 500 for adults.

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