(PHOTOS) Capoeira Maculelê Decatur hosts Black History Month workshopMaster Tito Santos (in blue) practices capoeira during a free workshop and roda hosted by Capoeira Maculelê Decatur at Core Studio in Downtown Decatur in celebration of Black History Month on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Decatur, GA — Capoeira Maculelê Decatur, a local nonprofit and Afro-Brazilian Culture center in Downtown Decatur, hosted a free workshop and roda with Brazilian Capoeira Master Tito Santos in celebration of Black History Month on Friday, Feb. 24.
“We are a family business, “said Dani Silva, who runs Capoeira Maculelê Decatur with her parents Sara Janeni and Francisco Da Silva “Mestre Fran.”
The family has taught capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that started with enslaved Africans in Brazil over 400 years ago, in Atlanta for 20 years an,d in Decatur for the past 15.
“We have guests from Brazil to teach capoeira. It’s avery special event for us, a special date to celebrate,” Silva said.
One workshop attendee, Tochukwa Akujuo of Tucker, who goes by the nickname Jacaré, said he has been practicing capoeira for 11 to 12 years. The tradition of nicknames dates back to when the practice of capoeira was illegal. Practitioners would know each other only through nicknames to protect their identities and, if captured, would be unable to identify others by name.
“I started off as a breakdancer wanting to be a martial artist,” Akujuo said. “I took my first capoeira class when I went to college. It was a weird, bizarre workshop and I loved it. The music, the movements, the energy of the people. I fell in love with capoeira. It’s what keeps me grounded.”
Sandy Springs resident Mikél Grissett, who also attended the workshop and whose nickname is Peroba, said he finds capoeira very different from other martial arts.
“Other martial arts are very serious, like this will hurt you, this will break bones. Here it’s more like a Zumba class,” Grissett said. “There are still dangerous techniques, but for the most part it’s a very friendly vibe, very inviting. It’s great for children, It’s great for people of all ages. Every time I come here, it’s just all smiles and happy people. It’s just a great vibe and I love being here.”
Capoeira Maculelê Decatur is located at Core Studio, 133 Sycamore Street in Downtown Decatur. For information, visit: capoeiratlanta.com.
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