The batizado I went to this past weekend—Grilocapoeira’s Encontro de Inverno 2008, in Amsterdam, Netherlands—was awesome! It was so much fun, and I met a lot of nice people. Having said that, it was also during the event that I realized my “survival guide” had let a few things fall through the cracks. Hence: further worst-case scenarios, and what to do about them! (P.S. I will be posting pictures of the event tomorrow!)
How to Prepare for a Spontaneous Party/Club Roda
Expect one to happen (because it will), and dress/plan accordingly. Wear comfortable pants you can move in, and shoes you can play in or take off/put back on quickly and easily. Make sure said shoes, if you’re planning to play with them, will not be flung off with a sudden meia lua de compasso, or turn your ginga into slow-motion speed-skating. For women, if you care, wear a top that won’t slip down/off/around while playing, and watch out for jewellery! (Either wear pieces that won’t get in the way, or plan where you’ll put them in your bag or bring a little pouch for them.) For guys, don’t put too many things in your pockets (as you’ll have to empty them to play), and scope out a safe place to leave your wallet, keys, etc., or ask to leave them with a friend. While actually playing, although this probably does not matter too much, it also can’t hurt to keep in mind that this is more of a “show” roda than an actual/training roda, so you can try adusting your game and playing accordingly (more expression, more fun dialogue, etc.).
How to Survive Dance Party “Partner Work”
To be honest, I didn’t, unless you count reading Bridget Jones’ Diary, stilted conversation with a mestre, and honing my photography skills! Needless to say, I actually have no idea how; would anyone like to write a “guest paragraph” for Mandingueira? (This question is only half-rhetorical; drop a comment or email if you have something to put here!)
How to Leave a Wrap-Up Party in 30 Minutes or Less
Begin your good-byes about 30-45 minutes before the time you actually need to leave. This may seem like an exaggeration, but trust me, it’s not. Say good-bye to everybody once. Do it fully, and try not to approach them again afterwards. (This might seem mean when it’s written out like this here, but in reality it’s just practical and you’ve already done the whole “good-bye, it was great to see you, come visit our group some time, until next year!” so you’ve already established “closure”.)
This especially goes for all mestres, contra-mestres, etc., anyone who would tend to start effusive (read: long) exchanges of affection and/or conversation. Speaking of which, get to these people early as if the entire party is ending, there will likely be a crowd of people lining up to give thanks and say good-bye, all of whom will either have questions or also be drawn into more conversation!
Exchange contact information with people throughout the night, so you don’t have to wait through or go through a frenzy of paper and pen scavenging during each good-bye. If people are occupied/in conversation with others, it’s okay to (politely) interrupt and explain you’re leaving and just wanted to say good-bye/thank-you to them. Once you’ve finished making the rounds, don’t hang around—get out of there!
How to Take Photos of the Event without Sacrificing Own Participation in Event
The best time to take photos is during a batizado or troca de corda ceremony, when you for sure would not be playing anyway and will have time to get and put away your camera before and after. If you are up for a corda, take pictures while others play for and receive theirs, then ask a friend to take care of your camera when it’s your turn. Just don’t forget to relieve them of it right after! This is also a good chance to have pictures of yourself taken, if your friend doesn’t mind. (Editor’s Note: I try and leave the flash off as much as possible when taking photos of rodas/people playing capoeira, so as not to distract/interrupt the players.)
If you want pictures of workshops/training or general rodas, grab your camera during the break or right before the activity starts. Snap shots as soon as most people are assembled, then quickly put your camera away and get into place right before the class or roda starts. Since it’s right at the beginning, you will not have missed much even if it started before you managed to run back in time. Leave your camera in an accessible but safe spot, or in an easily accessible part of your bag, but check that your bag isn’t burried at the bottom of a pile of stuff after everyone has arrived!
How to Get Over Post-Batizado Blues or Maintain Post-Batizado High
Train! Train, train, train. There is nothing like the very first class back after a batizado. Upload the photos you took of/at the event, and have fun going through and commenting on others’. Get in touch with the other capoeiristas you befriended at the batizado (that’s why you exchanged contact informationa after all, right?). Review or write down anything new you learned from the workshops, and practice them in class so you don’t forget. There’s also nothing more fun than reminiscing (in writing, on your own, or verbally, with friends) over memorable moments, funny stories, dramatic events, quotable lines, etc. Finally, start preparing for the next one!
How to Recover from Capoeira Overkill
I don’t even want to hear a berimbau for about 12-24 hours after our own event! The planning, craziness, training, playing, etc. just wear me out.
I do usually try to hit up a class or two in that initial week after—and definitely a lot of picture/vid trading going on.
Then, of course, it’s back up to hard training. But I usually do tell students to take a few days off and just absorb the experience afterwards—regain their enthusiasm and then get back to it.
I equate it to a family reunion—I love how much tighter the family feels after a successful get together, but I’m happy to say goodbye when it’s over.