Capodanca is a project for disadvantaged children and young people in northern Brazil for the promotion of art, culture and sport. The project also opens doors for children to enhance their opportunities in education and to access better healthcare.

The project emerged in 2005 in the wake of an aid campaign for a child suffering from asthma led by Dr. Frank Freytag, who, during a stay in Rio Grande de Norte, established contacts with people living in the greatly impoverished rural area. What followed was sponsorships for children, as well as the establishment of a capoeira group.

Over the years, Project Capodanca was developed, the central feature of which is capoeira as a dance form. Capoeira is a mixture of martial arts, acrobatics, dance, folklore, music, theatre and philosophy that is traditionally an integral part of Brazilian culture. Children and young people identify with this dance form, which promotes physical, mental and social skills. It considerably strengthens body control, capacity for teamwork, concentration, discipline and responsibility. Dance is a refuge for these children and young people which gives them new strength to face their difficult lives.

The beginning of 2009 saw the founding of a local non-profit association and the construction of a house for the project. Over 80 students are currently looked after here; some of whom used to live on the streets or were forced in to child labour. Besides the capoeira school they can also take computer courses, and all of them are now attending mainstream schools.

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