Grupo Senzala was founded in the 1960s by a group of young capoeiristas who had been training with the brothers, Rafael and Paulo Flores Viana in the Laranjeiras neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. This group developed its methodology though contact with the great Masters of the day. They drew on the teachings of Mestres Bimba and Pastinha from Salvador, Bahia as well as the mestres of Rio de Janeiro embodied in figures such as Mestre Leopoldina. These styles were brought together with new teaching styles and a fresh approach to Capoeira.
Capoeira is an expression of Brazilian culture, a culture rich in music. In our Capoeira program you will develop your singing voice and learn to play traditional Capoeira instruments - Berimbau, Pandeiro, Bateria and others.
Capoeira is not only a performance art, but an effective self defense system for all ages. The Senzala system has evolved over time to include grappling and effective striking techniques while maintaining it's secretive spirit hidden behind a dance.
Mestre Zumbi began training Capoeira at the age of nine in his native home of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has participated in countless workshops, performances and exhibitions the world over. His journey brought him to the United States in 2000 where he has since taught in numerous schools and universities throughout New York and New Jersey. In 2002 Zumbi became the official Capoeira instructor at Princeton University, founding a program that has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm within the university community. Since that time he has continued his work in the states, founding programs in both Manhattan and Newark.
Community outreach and classes for children have long been an emphasis of Zumbi’s work both in Brazil and now in the US. Working with local YMCA’s, community centers and art coalitions he has worked to bring Capoeira to the local youth as a means for both mental and physical development as well as providing connections with African and Brazilian cultural heritage. With the help of local governments and community nonprofits, Zumbi will continue to expand the social mission of the group in the coming years.