Jogo de Iúna is a type of capoeira game played in a traditional, informal setting. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, music, and acrobatics and has its roots in self-defense and resistance against slavery. Jogo de Iúna is characterized by its fast pace and energetic movements and is considered to be one of the more dynamic and athletic styles of capoeira. Iúna is a ritualized component of Capoeira Regional, allowing graduated practitioners to showcase their skills. This game is reserved for those who have completed their training in Capoeira and is performed with a heightened sense of solemnity, typically without clapping, singing or any instruments other than the berimbau. However, in some Capoeira Angola communities, other instruments may accompany the game.
In a Jogo de Iúna, two players engage in a fluid exchange of movements and musical cues, each trying to outmaneuver and outsmart the other. The game is played in a circle, known as a "roda," surrounded by musicians and singers who provide the rhythm and energy for the players. The goal of the game is not necessarily to defeat the opponent, but to engage in a physical and musical exchange that showcases the players' skill and creativity.
Jogo de Iúna is considered to be an important part of the capoeira tradition and is an opportunity for practitioners to test their skills and improve their technique in a playful and informal setting. The style is often contrasted with the more structured and formal style of capoeira known as "Regional.". Jogo de Iúna is a sub style of game in Capoeira Regional that demonstrates the proficiency of a graduated practitioner. This game was created by Mestre Bimba and is an integral part of his traditional teaching style. The low choreographic movements of the game serve as proof of a practitioner's ability and showcase their mastery of the Luta Regional Baiana.
Balões, translated as "balloons," are a component of Jogo de Iúna. These partner throws involve acrobatics and are developed by both participants. Mestre Bimba added various balões to his style of Capoeira Regional and created the 'Cintura Desprezada' sequence, a series of "Balões Acinturados" performed while the rhythm of Iúna is played on the berimbau. These balões are typically performed by graduated students.