Mestre Joãozinho da Figueira

Mestre Jo√£ozinho da FigueiraMestre Joãozinho da Figueira started Capoeira on 15th May 1978, when his older brother Zé took him along to a class at the Capitães de Areia group in São Paulo. His older brother didn’t carry on with Capoeira, but Joãozinho was hooked. Having left rural Brazil for the concrete jungle of São Paulo when he was twelve years old, and having worked in factories there since he was just thirteen years old, he saw Capoeira as his pathway to liberation, to be free from the life of being a factory worker and to follow his dreams and principles.

Despite initially finding it difficult, his commitment and dedication meant that in just five years, he was graduated Formado  by Mestre Joanito Baiano and Mestre Carioca of Capitães de Areia. He then started teaching in the Catholic Pontific University in São Paulo with his friend and fellow Formado, Valdenor Reis, and founded Grupo de Capoeira MarAzul in 1983.

In 1985 he left São Paulo to discover his indigenous roots in Manaus, Amazonas, and over the next 18 years, firmly established Capoeira MarAzul as one of the key contributors to the cultural and artistic scene in Amazonas, performing at various cultural festivals and shows. For several years, Mestre Joãozinho ran the ‘Espaço Cultural MarAzul’ which brought together artists, actors and musicians from Manaus every weekend.

In 2003, he left Brazil to explore Africa, and established MarAzul in Maputo, Mozambique, with regular classes and rodas, and initiated a social project to provide Capoeira classes to street kids in Maputo.

Mestre Carioca gave Joãozinho the title of ‘Mestre’, in 2004, in recognition of his contribution to the world of Capoeira and the respect that he commands.

Mestre Joãozinho then moved to London, once again establishing MarAzul as a group with an open philosophy that unites people and capoeira groups of all different styles, in particular through the weekly Friday rodas.

Mestre Joãozinho has over 30 years experience of Capoeira, teaching all different ages and abilities, and organising and directing shows and performances at events, festivals, and on stage.

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