For the uninitiated, capoeira is a martial arts form that originated in Brazil over 500 years ago. Capoeira ritualizes movement from martial arts, games, and dance.

Today, it is practiced as an exercise or a form of game. Participants form a circle and pairs perform sweeps, kicks, and other martial art moves in its center.

Capoeira has gained immense popularity in the past few months. In fact, it is growing worldwide. There have been comparisons drawn between the Afro-North American art form of the blues and capoeira. Both were practiced and developed by African-American slaves, both retained distinctive African aesthetics and cultural qualities; both were shunned and looked-down upon by the larger Brazilian and North American societies within which they developed, and both fostered a deep sense of Afrocentric pride especially amongst poorer and darker-skinned Blacks.

In the mid-1970s when masters of the art form -- mestre capoeiristas, began to emigrate and teach capoeira in the United States, only the poorest and blackest of Brazilians took interest in it. With its immigration to the U.S., however, much of the stigma with which it was associated in Brazil fell away. Today there are many capoeira schools all over the world and across the United States, and with its growing popularity in the U.S, it has attracted students across culture and race.

Capoeira has gained popularity among non-Brazilian and non-African practitioners for the fluidity of its movements.

Health clubs are witness to the buzz around the martial arts form. Capoeira has become a trend in fitness classes and an increasing number of fitness enthusiasts have turned to it.