One of my favorite extracurricular activities we had the opportunity to take part in Cusco was dance class. In particular, my favorite dance lesson was Capoeira…In fact, I liked it so much that I went back for round two! Capoeira is a type of dance that originated amongst the African slaves in Brazil. It mimics martial arts, however while dancing, the two “fighters” never actually strike a blow against each other. This way, the slaves learned to defend themselves against their masters but disguised this as a dance. The dance itself is highly acrobatic, including cartwheels, flips, sweeps, kicks, and extremely agile back and forth movements. For us Americans, this introduction to Capoeira in high altitude was an extreme workout to say the very least. But perhaps that is why I liked it so much. The dance form is accompanied by traditional Brazilian berimbau, a musical bow of African origin. We sang along with the berimbau music with lyrics in the native Portuguese. This dance was very fun because of the physical component, the music, and Portuguese songs. Hopefully I will get to practice Capoeira with the Capoeira Club back at Vanderbilt!