How do you pronounce Capoeira Mandinga Tucson?
ka-poe-AY-da mun-JING-a TOO-saan

Why is Capoeira so great?
Capoeira is an art form which is so rich you can never stop learning – from its movements, its music, and from what it teaches you about yourself and how you and others interact with the world. It shows you that you always have options and your choices can drastically change the outcome of any situation. Capoeira provides a fun, challenging and exciting way to continue learning about your own creative spirit, your strengths and weaknesses and about people and cultures from all over the world. Capoeiristas from all over the world welcome each other into their homes and capoeira schools, so it’s a great way to meet people when you travel.

Is Capoeira hard? What does it look like? What skills are involved?
Capoeira is a really fun challenge – mentally, physically and musically. It is a very flowing art form whose essence comes from escapes from kicks, rather than blocks, which lend themselves to all kinds of movements depending on your talents (cartwheels, spins, flips). It is hard only if you are not patient with yourself. Each person starts at a different level of fitness, flexibility and musicality. Capoeira uses movements that are not used in any other sport. So, it takes time to understand movements before you can do them well. Also, all of the songs are in Portuguese so it takes time to get a feel for the pronunciations. The instrument rhythms on berimbau, pandeiro and atabaque are unique to capoeira.

What ages can take Capoeira Mandinga classes?
We offer classes from age four through adult. The age of the person (young or old) may determine in part the movements that are accessible. The person’s fitness level and flexibility also control their limits, although these may be extended greatly with training. Mestre (teacher/master) Marcelo Pereira, recently awarded a second level belt to a 62 year old student. We recommend that older adults (> 60) participate only if they are wise about staying within their physical limits. Capoeira mestres often play into their 80s. However, this is after a lifetime of training and understanding how they need to change their game as they age. GingaFit™ classes provide a good way to build fitness for all ages and fitness levels. All ages can learn to play, sing and enjoy capoeira music. The music is an essential part of the energy of the capoeira game.

What is the origin of Capoeira and how did it come to the US?
Capoeira was created several hundred years ago in Brazil by Africans brought as slaves to Brazil who wanted a way to train to fight for their freedom, but needed it to look like a dance. Some say that capoeira uses mostly kicks and escapes because those who first trained may have had their hands bound behind their backs. After slavery was abolished, capoeira was used by the Brazilian army in the war against Paraguay. But capoeira got a bad name, as it started to be used by muggers and in street fights and was made illegal to practice. This is thought to be the reason that capoeiristas (players of capoeira) started using nicknames rather than real names, a practice that continues until today. In 1932, Mestre Bimba opened the first capoeira academy in Bahia (now called Salvador), but it was called the Academy for the Regional Fight of Brazil – his teachings are now considered to be the “Capoeira Regional” style of capoeira. His contemporary, Mestre Pastinha, continued teaching the more historic style of capoeira which came to be called “Capoeira Angola.” Mestre Bimba organized shows for government officials in Bahia which increased the popularity of capoeira. However, it was not legalized until 1965. In the 1970s Mestre João Grande brought capoeira to New York City. Mestre Accordeon, a student of Mestre Bimba, next brought capoeira to Berkeley, CA. Mestre Marcelo Pereira (Anne Pollack’s mestre) was the third capoeira mestre in the US. He started teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1984 and is now head of Capoeira Mandinga US. Marcelo was a student of Mestre Suassuna who was also a student of Mestre Bimba. Mestre Suassuna is now one of the most famous capoeira masters in all of Brazil and he gave Anne Pollack her capoeira name “Luar do Sertão” when she received her first belt in 1988. So, today we can feel the lineage of the history of our art form tightly wrapped around us.

What is the origin of the capoeira name “Luar do Sertão?”
Mestra Luar’s nickname was a true inspiration by Mestre Suassuna, as it means “Moonlight Over the Desert Outback” and was given to her long before she moved to Tucson.