BYU club turned into Orem business

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    By Randall Jeppesen

    A former BYU capoeira club, a brazilian dance form which incorporates self defense, has turned itself into a thriving business.

    Jungle Creative Arts Center in Orem has been open at its current location for a little over a year, and owner and head instructor Aaron Lauritzen said he can”t take any credit for the success of the business.

    “I wish I could say it was because we did lots of really creative marketing and advertising, but really it has just been people bringing in their friends and finding out about us through word of mouth,” Lauritzen said.

    “Capoeira is a Brazilian art form developed by African slaves brought to Brazil who wanted to continue practicing their styles of self defense, but at the same time disguising their training from their masters,” said Aaron”s wife Anne Lauritzen. “You can”t say it is a dance or a martial art because it is truly unique.”

    “Different things attract different people to the class. We have the music so you get some artsy right-brained kind of people. We have the martial arts end so we get the guys who have already have their black belts in other styles and are looking for a new challenge. Then there is the dance part as well. Some people are looking for an outlet of self expression,” Aaron Lauritzen said.

    Lauritzen first came in contact with capoeira while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil. “I instantly fell in love with it,” Lauritzen said. Upon returning home from Brazil Lauritzen began searching for Brazilians attending BYU and found one that agreed to begin training capoeira with him.

    In a short time Lauritzen had a club organized that was filling with students.

    “I was getting close to graduating and wanted to continue capoeira, so I decided that the best way for me to keep myself training was to open up a space where we could teach the community,” Lauritzen said. He has been running groups of “capoeiristas” ever since.

    Anne Lauritzen is the business manager of the venture and was introduced to capoeira by her husband. “I saw photos of capoeira from brazil first of all, and then when I saw my first capoeira movie I decided that I have got to try this,” Anne said.

    “What is really cool about capoeira is since it is so broad of an art form it really fits into a lot of different environments. We have been part of dance shows, part of martial arts shows, and part of multi cultural shows,” Anne said.

    In just a few weeks the capoeira school will be able to display its talents to the world as they perform in the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. “This is really exciting for us,” Anne said. “They are telling us that they are expecting more people in the world to be watching the closing ceremonies than ever before in history.”

    “I hope that the Brazilians who see us will be excited that capoeira is being introduced to the world. It”s still very young in countries like the United States. It”s still a rather unknown art form,” Anne said.

    Daren Reavis, a 23-year-old senior from Taylorsville Utah studying information technology, said that he had been looking for capoeira ever since he saw people perform it in a movie. “I saw an article in the newspaper talking about Aaron and Anne who were teaching capoeira so I came and joined up,” Daren said.

    “Capoeira is a martial art and a dance and so much more. I think it is a lifestyle and I love it. I plan on continuing it as long as I can still walk,” Daren said.

    Aaron Lauritzen offers a personal invitation to everyone to come by the studio and find out a bit more about capoeira.

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