Meet some of our experienced students also known as "Graduados"



Graduada Esquila, from New York, has been doing Capoeira since 2002. She currently directs the ACA children’s program and teaches classes for kids and parents at the academy. “Capoeira brings out the best in me and challenges me to push my limits. It has the power to transform the body and the mind, for people of all sizes, ages and abilities – and it’s amazing fun! That’s why I love training, and sharing what I’ve learned over the years, especially with kids.” Esquila is a marketing professional in the financial services industry and lives on the Lower East Side with her husband and their young son. Together, they enjoy dancing, karaoke, seeking out the best noodles and dumplings NYC has to offer, and playing Capoeira.


Graduada Sol, from New York, has been doing capoeira since 2003. She has trained capoeira in many places like DC, San Francisco, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, and many times in Brazil including Rio, Salvador, and Fortaleza. She has received medals in New York Jogos and the Bimba Cup. Sol is part of the ACA Operations team. She says about capoeira, "I love the free-flowing self-expression, the interaction, the community, culture, language, music, and much much more." She is a social worker in a public high school for immigrants and the proud momma of one son.  She also enjoys Crossfit, speaking Spanish and Portuguese, and dancing salsa.



Graduado Dende, from Jamaica, has been doing Capoeira since 2006. He has had the opportunity to travel the world with some of his best friends, learning and playing this amazing martial art. Some of his best moments were made in exotic locations, sweating and exhausted from training but having the time of his life exploring this art called Capoeira. Dende had been doing martial arts for a long time when he discovered capoeira, which was different than any other style he had studied. He says, "The mixture of rhythm, movements and individual style was different from a kata. Your instruction in the roda comes from an instrument (berimbau), and not a sensei and this flipped everything I've ever know about self defense on its head." Dende is part of the Web Development team for ACA.



Graduado Arrepiado, from New York has been doing Capoeira since 2005. While traveling in Ilha Grande, Brazil, he discovered capoeira by following the mesmerizing rhythm of the berimbau to a courtyard where a class was taking place -pure magic! Arrepiado is part of the ACA Operations Team. He says, "Capoeira is my time to Play, and a chance for me to connect mind + body." Arrepiado is a small-business owner in printing services. He is a family guy, with 2 children, a son and daughter, with his lovely wife who he met in Capoeira.



Graduada Morena, from New York has been doing capoeira since 2005.  Morena has traveled to Brazil to train Capoeira several times in her earlier years of training. She is part of the ACA Operations Team and is pretty good at organizing all things. She loves the capoeira community. She says about Capoeira, "After so many years, you guys are like family. Capoeira makes me feel good. Moving energy with my body and singing is good for my soul.  I can't imagine my life without it." Morena is a mother, furniture designer, and renaissance woman. Morena met her husband doing capoeira in 2005, and they now have 2 kids. She hopes they do Capoeira one day too.



Graduado Salseiro, from Brooklyn and of Dominican descent, has been doing Capoeira since 2004. Salseiro started his training with the legendary Mestre Joāo Grande before joining Abada. His dedication inspired him to travel to Brazil where he trained with Mestre Camisa and Mestre Cobra, among others in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. One of his proudest distinctions is writing the capoeira song “E Magia de Bimba E” which gave him the opportunity to collaborate with Mestrando Pretinho, a world-renowned Abada-Capoeira composer and singer. He also won third place when he was an orange cord at the Mestre Bimba Cup in New York City. Salseiro is a union tradeshow carpenter and recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. His interests include martial arts (JKD, Boxing, Kali, Muay Thai, Wing Chun), salsa dancing and drumming.



Graduado Pingo, born in the Midwest to Jamaican parents, has been doing Capoeira since 2007. He has had the privilege of training in DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, Montreal, Rio, Sweden, Barcelona, and Israel with great friends, old and new. He assists with teaching and event-planning and "messes up demonstrating movements so others know what not to do." Pingo says, "Capoeira is good for staying in shape during the exotic male dancing off season. Best combination of mobility, functional strength, and fun that I've found. " He is a building design engineer by day, and also enjoys dancing, architecture, innuendos, calisthenics, not wearing pants, latin & caribbean music, and stickin it to the man.



Graduado Topete, from Boston but a New Yorker since 2005, has been doing capoeira since 2007. He has traveled to Brazil for 3 weeks to train at the heart of ABADA in Rio, to capoeira events in San Francisco, Montreal, and Israel. In the 2015 NYC Copa Mestre Bimba, he won 1st place for orange/blue cord. Topete manages the ACA Music Blog. Topete says, "Capoeira wakes me up when I'm tired and calms me down when I'm crazy. It is so much more than just exercise...but it's also great exercise". He owns a bar/restaraunt, the Deep End, and enjoys cooking and headspins. He got his apelido Topete because of his constantly changing (sometimes goofy) hair.