In capoeira we all have nicknames, also called a ‘nome de guerra’ or an ‘apelido’. Mine is Borboleta, which is Portuguese for butterfly. I began studying capoeira in 2003 in California, under the instruction of Guilherme de Barros, of Centrosul Capoeira. Over the years, I have completed a number of specialized courses in capoeira, primarily in extended stays in Brazil. These specialized courses have included children’s education programs and the pedagogy of Capoeira Regional. I began leading adult classes under the supervision of my teacher in Huntington Beach in 2006, and in 2010, Mestre Gui and the capoeira community recognized me as a professora, or teacher, of capoeira and granted me the responsibility to lead my group of students. Since then I have been responsible for a capoeira group, while also teaching capoeira to youth in after school and mentorship programs for ages 6-18, and serving the community with educational workshops, lectures, and cultural demonstrations. After Mestre Gui returned to Brazil, I began to deepen my study of Capoeira Regional through classes and conversations with Mestre Nenel, and I continue to study intensively at Filhos de Bimba Escola de Capoeira, both through extended stays in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and through intensive workshops offered both in the USA and abroad. In 2018 Filhos de Bimba, Escola de Capoeira recognized my studies with a formatura, and I received my lenço azul and medalha to recognize this acheivement.
I am a “Professora” or teacher of Capoeira Regional. Capoeira Regional is a specific methodology of capoeira, an art-form from Brazil that developed out of the conflict of cultures that brought Africans to live on Brazilian soil. Capoeira is often described as a dance-fight, meant describe both the combative movements of kicks, dodges and sweeps, and the combination of these moves with the music of the berimbau, call-and-response singing and rhythmic clapping. Most importantly it is a game—one that promotes physical control and mental creativity. The many components of capoeira take a lifetime to study, but we focus on the day-to-day development of movement, music and language all through a cultural lens that is specific to the Afro-Brazilian experience.
In addition to my work with capoeira regional, I am a trained educator, with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine (2010), and I have taught humanities and social science courses at the university level since 2003, including Composition, Spanish, Literature and Latin American Studies. My research has concentrated on the Afro-Latin populations of the Caribbean and Brazil, and this research has helped me develop my understanding of Capoeira Regional.