When I moved from France to San Francisco, CA in 2000, I knew nothing about Capoeira.
I started taking Afro-Brazilian classes at the Mission Cultural Center with samba and Capoeira master, Carlos Aceituno. Right before my class, on Tuesday nights, Carlos was teaching a Capoeira class. I used to catch a glimpse of the end of the class: people in a circle, clapping and singing to the sound of a weird bow, drum and tambourine. Two people in the middle were acting some kind of dance, trying to kick each other, doing cartwheels and other acrobatic moves. Interesting, I thought, but not for me, I'll stick with samba and afro-Brazilian dance.
A few years later, after Mestre Carlos Aceituno passed away, our best friends enrolled their son in a Capoeira class in the Mission district. They loved it. We took Emilie (4 years old then) to see a class. It seemed really cool but Emilie was too young to participate. And then we left the US for Ecuador.
When we were about to come back to the US, the first thing I did was to locate a Capoeira school in Denver. A week after we arrived, we took Emilie, Zoila and Antonio to Canto Do Galo, on a Saturday morning. The following Saturday, they all took their first class. Antonio in the pre-capoeira class, and Zoila with Emilie in the children class. They have been doing Capoeira for three years now, starting their fourth.
After their first year, and especially after attending Emilie and Zoila's batizado, I decided to start training as well. I made sure a could still do a cartwheel before taking my first class! It's been an amazing journey. We were introduced to the amazing Capoeira community. We met several amazing teachers along the way. Our children have made new friends and have new role models in their lives.
Obrigados Mestre Galo, Contra Mestre Beringela, Profesora Pina Una, Profesor Grilo, Mestre Acordeon, Mestra Suelly, Mestre Ra, Mestre Calango, Mestre Recruta, Contra Mestre Pincel, Contra Mestre Betinho, Mestre Lucas and all the other ones!
Capoeira has enriched our lives deeply and we know that wherever we are in the world, there will be Capoeira in our life.
For the past 40 years, Mestre Acordeon and UCA Berkeley have been pioneers for Capoeira in the US. UCA Berkeley is facing a financial crisis with UCA’s non-profit organization’s sudden loss of a $60,000 operating grant from a foundation that supported Capoeira Arts Foundation (CAF) for 15 years. They need our help!
I urge you please, if not for a donation, to find a Capoeira class near you and enroll your child and yourself. There is no age to start Capoeira! And Capoeira will change your life :)