Ginga

Tutorials, Step By Step guide, Tips & Follow Along Video

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Ginga pronounced ‘jinga’, is the most basic but important movement in Capoeira and means to swing in Portuguese. The ginga differs greatly between groups and practitioners, the same way an accent changes depending on what region you are in.

Move Background

The ginga is the foundation of Capoeira, a never-ending step that forms all Capoeira movements. It stimulates the entire body and is therefore a great warmup as well. The ginga is the base of almost all Capoeira techniques and is used to set up kicks, sweep, dodges, take downs, and other movements. The ginga is also a marker of someone’s skill, with many experienced Capoeiristas being able to gauge the strength or ability of other capoeirista based on their ginga. The rhythmic back and forth of this movement is one of the reasons people see Capoeira as a choreography or a dance. Although the origins of the ginga is not known, during the time when Capoeira was deemed illegal, it was used to fool authorities into believing a group of people were enjoying a dance in the streets, rather than settling a dispute with Capoeira.

Step by step guide

  • The ginga starts from the paralelo - a strong squat position where the arms defend the face and body. Stand in your deepest flat-footed squat, then raise your hips until you're horizontal, lift your arms and imagine holding a beach ball in front of your face.
  • Step back with your right foot, ending in a lunge position. Keep your right hand up near your face and use the left arm like a wing to maintain balance. The second ginga position is called básica.
  • To complete the ginga as a whole, step into the paralelo and then step back with your left leg and reverse the hands. You're now in the básica again, only on the opposite side. Repeat this flow whilst maintaining a sense of control and balance.

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