Capoeira was a form of martial arts brought to the Western hemisphere by Angolan slaves who eventually disguised it as dance and performed it for their masters, forming a just, if circular, irony: They were able to practice and teach the art right under the boss's nose. Around the world today, dancers use the form to train their bodies in the sinewy, seamlessly flowing and lightning-swift acrobatics you will see on the Orpheum stage. The maculele, with its clacking sticks and flashing swords, is overtly militaristic, using formalized deployment of masses of dancers in groupings around the stage and intermittent pitting of combatants against each other.
What's it going to take to make you get up and dance? Maybe it will be the music -- five master percussionists working their berimbaus raw. Or Miralvo Couto's and Dora Santana's steamy singing. How about Janete Silva's exuberant solo in the finale's samba reggae? Reports are that last time Bale Folclorico came to town, it even had the cops dancing in the streets outside the theater. Wouldn't a conga line with Phoenix's Phinest be cool? I gotta be there for that. Just don't tell Sheriff Arpaio.