FALL RIVER — With multiple bodies swaying in fluid motions and legs kicking to an African beat, it was obvious this was no regular dance, and definitely not your everyday workout.
“It’s timing, all timing,” Tabareu, the “contramestre” or master apprentice, instructed his group of students. “You’ve got to understand where you are in your movement.”
Capoeira, part Brazilian martial art, part dance and part self-expression, is the newest craze at Amp Academy, where getting fit is about a lot more than running in place.
“I wanted to bring it here,” said Amp Academy owner Joshua Amarello.
But make no mistake, capoeira is anything but new.
What students are learning is a martial art created by slaves in the early 16th century. Because they had no weapons or any way to protect themselves, they practiced capoeira, disguised as a dance and a game to fool slave owners.
It became a tradition passed down through the generations.
“Basically, it was a way to express themselves,” said Tabareu, using only his capoeira name. “It has a freedom element to it.”
Tabareu, a native of the Dominican Republic who came to the United States when he was 9 years old, first became aware of capoeira during his first year in high school. He took a class and studied its meaning.
“I fell in love with it right away,” he said.
Tabareu said he lived in Brazil for several years where capoeira was…