“Capoeira forms community...The kids become friends.
The teachers become mentors.”
- Jen ( CapoeiraDC parent)
With the persistence of systemic racism, racial disparities in access to community wellness resources and access to the arts, and the rapid pace of gentrification, there is an urgent need for people to have spaces where they can practice a liberating art. CapoeiraDC teaches a martial art that was developed by those who fought against anti-Black racism in its worst form. By teaching capoeira, we give voice to continued justice fighting.
Through all that capoeira offers – its martial art, movement, music, culture, and history – we give people across the District a positive physical outlet, a positive creative outlet, community, exposure to diverse cultures, and a practice in liberation.
Since its founding in 2001, CapoeiraDC has grown to reach 300+ students on average per year. We have a diverse membership where people of all races, ages, and physical ability are represented and where Black and Brown people are affirmed. Many of us initially joined to try a fun physical activity. We have by and large stayed because of the empowerment, community, and belonging we have gained here.
What Parents Say
“My kids have gained self-confidence and are not intimidated by new challenges - when facing something new, they know that they can break it down, work on it, and will eventually master it...This self-confidence has translated to other activities.”
- Laura (CapoeiraDC parent)
Providing Community for the Whole Family
Carole was walking down Rhode Island Ave NE one day. In the near distance, she heard the steady beat of drums. Having grown up in the Caribbean, drumming and music were embedded in her DNA. It was something she had been missing since immigrating to the U.S. She followed the sound to The Capoeira Spot.
The music, the movement, the Axé! She was home. Carole enrolled her two kids, ages 3 and 5 at the time, in our kids program. For the next few years, she saw her kids learn new skills, gain friends, and build confidence. Her kids are among our most consistent youth students. Their creativity, talent, and dedication shine through in class and when they play capoeira in the roda.
Eventually, with the encouragement of Mestre Morcego, Carole decided to give capoeira a try herself. Six years later, Carole is one of our most consistent adult students. Her swift, dynamic, powerful game earned her the loving nickname, “Killer Carole,” by her classmates. She is an inspiration especially to the women in our community as she balances her capoeira with her work and family obligations.
Carole also took the initiative to volunteer as our studio manager for the past several years. Her daughter is now in our Teen Teaching program, assisting teachers in our kids program and developing her leadership skills.
When asked what brings her and her family back - not only as students but also as volunteer leaders - Carole shared, “CapoeiraDC is genuinely invested in the development and physical and mental growth of the children. It's more than just a gym where one would do the work and leave. It's a family. There is love around and it is felt.”
— THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS
We are thrilled to be part of the 2023 Spur Local class of critical local nonprofits! It’s an honor to be selected by community advocates across the region based on our impact and work. With your support, we can continue to make a difference right here, where we live.