Capoeira explained as a tool for social justice in Roehampton Professor’s TEDX talk

In her TEDX talk, Dr Beatrice Allegranti from the Psychology Department at the University of Roehampton explained her new research on capoeira, the Afro-Brasilian martial art-dance, as a way to achieve social justice within society.

Posted: 14 February 2017

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Capoeira performing as part of Dr Allegranti's research project, 'Embodied Signatures'. photograph: Alice Underwood

A dance movement psychotherapist and feminist researcher, Dr Allegranti performed capoeira with master Ponicano Almeida in the TEDX talk. She connected this type of movement practice as a valuable way for people to relate to one another by recognising that people’s bodies are never neutral and understanding that individual identity is always present within the body.

She said: “The way that we identify with and understand each other is through movement and our own signature ‘body politics’ such as gender, sex, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity. This impacts how we see ourselves and others. If we are more aware of these factors, we can renegotiate our own body politics and the ways in which we relate with others – in less oppressive ways. This will help us to break down those barriers to achieving equality in our everyday lives.”

The project is called ‘Embodied Signatures’, which combines capoeira, dance movement psychotherapy and neuroscience. Dr Allegranti has been collaborating with neuroscientist Dr Jonathan Silas (Middlesex University), Capoeira Master Ponciano Almeida (Mojuba Capoeira London) and Dance Movement Psychotherapist Gerry Harrison (NHS) to work with a distinguished group of capoeira masters from Brasil as well a large group of culturally diverse capoeira practitioners living in the UK. See the full performance and Dr Allegranti’s TEDx talk.

Dr Allegranti, who is Director for the Centre for Arts Therapies Research will be running a Capoeira and Body Politics Workshop at the University of Roehampton. Find out more on her website.

Later in 2017, a short documentary film and research publication will be available. Dr Allegranti also received a Santander Grant to develop the findings in Capoeira Academies in Brasil where she will develop a series of workshops for people at risk of social exclusion in order to enhance interpersonal understanding within a context of social justice. To keep up to date with the project click here.

The Psychology Department offers an outstanding postgraduate degree in Dance Movement Psychotherapy enabling graduates to be eligible to register with the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy in the UK.


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