Dan Waters set the scene with a medley of Brazilian songs, Valci Carvalho shared stories of adapting to Vineyard life and Bruno Oliveira provided a visual tour of Brazil from Rio to Sao Paulo at the cultural luncheon sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living at the Grill on Main on March 3. But it was members of Martha’s Vineyard Capoeira who stole the show when they demonstrated the famous Brazilian martial art.

“Capoeira emerged in the 17th century as a way for African slaves to practice a marital art, disguised as a dance, and to transmit their culture and lift their spirits,” explained Ronaldo Silva, also known as Pombo one of the teachers in the group.

The performance began with the playing of traditional instruments. Then, pairs of capoeiristas sparred — a performance that seems to an unpracticed eye to combine gymnastics, break dancing and something approaching karate. The audience of 50 or so clapped and cheered as the moves intensified, reaching a crescendo when Ronaldo and Adilson Ribiero (also a teacher known as Gunga) performed a somersault.

Diane Jetmund, president of the center for living, was so inspired that she responded to the invitation to try a round of sparring, and using her lifetime of experience as a dancer, performed like a seasoned member of the troupe.

MV Capoiera holds classes, everyone welcome, at Rise dance studio in the Woodland Business Center. Call 508-560-0464 for more information.

— Sam Low