Instrutor Picapau - I have been training capoeira with Contramestre Versátil since April 2003 when a breakdancing friend introduced me to it, and fell in love immediately. The energy, movement, music, and genius of Versátil hooked me. The multifaceted nature of capoeira with its community, language, music, food, and history made this art-form immensely fulfilling. Best of all, because of capoeira I have found the love of my life, who also trains, and we now have two kids, Lina and Noah. I am grateful for everything capoeira has given me, physically and spiritually. Currently, I teach and run workshops for the calisthenics-based group, Strength Project.
Photo: Jolino's Photography
Instrutor Arisco - The first time I saw capoeira was at an open gym where I practiced tricking in the early 2000s. My first impression was that it was smooth, controlled, and incorporated a lot of tricking. I took my first capoeira class freshman year in college, training on and off until graduating. I didn't seriously start until discovering Contra Mestre Versatil's class by searching online, and remembered seeing him at open rodas in Huntington Beach, California. I have been going to the Santa Ana class ever since and think playing capoeira is one of the most fun things to do - it has become a major part of my life.
Photographer: James Jiang
Monitora Caramelo - started her capoeira and Brazilian culture experience in San Francisco with Mestre Urubu and his group formerly known as Capoeira USA, now known as Capoeira Ixeja. She moved to LA in 2004 and joined the Batuque family taking classes with Contramestre Versátil and Mestre Amen. In recent years she has been taking Afro-Brazillian and African dance classes, performing with Rachel Hernandez's dance company, Ejo Emi, at local community events.
Photographer: Nick Basargekar
Instrutor Caboclo - I have trained multiple disciplines of martial arts since I was eight, and began my capoeira journey in 2005, under the instruction of Mestre Itabora Ferreira, while also dancing with Haluan Hip Hop Dance Troupe during my time at UC Santa Cruz. Capoeira ended up being a mix of everything I love to do: beautiful music, smooth flowing movements, and deadly martial arts. After a one-year hiatus, I began training with Contramestre Versátil and Capoeira Batuque in 2009. Through capoeira I have made strong friendships, traveled, and met many amazing people. It has taught me so much about life in, and outside of the roda, which continues fueling my growth to become a better human being.
Photographer: Marilen Avila Tran
Irmão - Irmão has been studying Kungfu under Sifu Earl White as well as Capoeira under Contramestre Versatil for over a decade. He is one of the most well rounded fighters to be seen in the roda today.
Pião - I was first exposed to capoeira during college in 2003 as a hobby and a way to stay active. After a number of years of going on hiatus and inconsistent training, I eventually joined Capoeira Batuque under Contramestre Versátil, and I've never turned back. Capoeira has become much more than a hobby. It's become a deep positive influence in my life physically, mentally, and spiritually. My primary goal is to give back as much as I can to capoeira and its community.
Photographer: John Chu
Monitor Surfista Prateado - began learning capoeira in 2006, since then he has been able to learn from many of the best masters of capoeira including his principle teachers Contramestre Versátil and Mestre Amen Santo. To advance his knowledge and skill, he traveled to Brazil in 2009 and again in 2013 visiting many of the historic centers of capoeira including Salvador da Bahia. Today he leads capoeira classes at Avalon Educational Institute. The capoeira community is a vibrant and beautiful one, which welcomes all who wish to be a part of it.
Photographer: Grace Moran