Capoeira is an African-Brazilian art form that combines dance, martial arts, music and acrobatics. Africans in Brazil created Capoeira over 400 years ago as a way to defend themselves and maintain their culture in the face of the harsh and oppressive conditions of slavery. Capoeira and Capoeiristas - those who practice the art - have survived tremendous odds to develop their art form while facing discrimination from the upper and middle classes of Brazilian society. Capoeira was illegal to practice up until the early 1930s, when legendary Mestre Bimba founded the first legal Capoeira Academy and created a new, contemporary style of the art, Capoeira Regional. Practiced in a circle called a roda (pronounced ho-dah) and accompanied by live music, Capoeira can be graceful or combative as the situation dictates. Originally considered a lower class pastime, Capoeira is now a living art and profound social force throughout the world.