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.
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.