My capoeira journey began when I moved to NYC in 2000. I had heard of the martial art before then -- as many of us did - through the video game Tekken. But when I moved to NY and ran into a real live roda on my college campus, I knew I had found something life-changing.
For a number of years I lived between NY and Berkeley, and while in Berkeley I trained with the United Capoeira Association -- a home away from home in my early capoeira years -- where I received my first cord from Mestre Acordeon and Mestra Suelly in 2002. My capoeira nickname, "Borracha," was given to me by Mestre Ra. It means "rubber" and was a reference to my many years of dance training and flexibility.
In 2004, a series of serendipitous and truly unlikely events dropped me in the lap of Grupo Capoeira Brasil - which remains my group to this day. I trained under Formanda Joy and Formando Tuzinho for the next 9 years, where I found some of my closest friends - now family after 14 years of blood, sweat, and tears together. I left NY only to move to Chicago for graduate school in 2013. There, I started my own small group, while also continuing my own training with Formada Colibri.
Since 2015, I have been in the Bay Area. Living in Oakland, I am lucky to be reunited with Instrutora Foquinha and Graduada Bailarina -- my capoeira sisters from our early years in NY. Thanks to the hard work of both of these women, we now have a thriving branch of our original NY group out here in the East Bay.
As a lifetime student and teacher, my love for capoeira runs deep. To truly be a capoeirista, we must train far beyond the physical aspects of the art form and dig hungrily into the history, culture, music, language, and future of this martial art. It is complex and rich -- not one day goes by when I do not learn something new from capoeira. I strive to pass this richness on to my students so that they too see the value that capoeira and Afro-Brazilian culture have brought to our world, and so that they stay hungry and passionate about this art form for years to come.