Gingarte Capoeira Chicago

Mestre Marisa

Cultivating and transforming communities through Capoeira since 1991.

Brazilian Roots

Capoeira Origins

Capoeira started during the slave trade in Brazil, as a way for slaves to practice self-defense without getting caught. They disguised it as a dance by incorporating music and instruments, but it also had movements that could turn deadly. It was outlawed in Brazil until Mestre Bimba legitimized it.

Since then, Capoeira has evolved over the decades.  Today it is Brazil’s national sport and is practiced all over the world.

It is a rich martial art form that combines dance, acrobatics, culture, music, and community.  Students who train regularly benefit from increased coordination, strength, flexibility, discipline, compassion, and tolerance.  Capoeira teaches lessons that allow students to grow as people outside of training.  As a capoeirista, you become a part of a global community full of wisdom and experience.

Related Music & Dances

puxada de rede

Puxada de Rede

Puxada de Rede (or ‘pulling of the net’) is a folkloric theatrical dance about the simple life of Brazilian fishermen and the celebration of a successful catch. The graceful dance involves live music with passionate lyrics reflecting the natural beauty and daily struggles of the life of a fisherman.



Samba, characterized by vibrating hips and fast moving feet, is the official Brazilian dance of Carnaval. Radiant dancers wear Carnaval costumes and dance to live samba percussion.


Dança Guerreira

Dança Guerreira is a powerful dance representing a tribe preparing for fight. The choreography includes dancers in traditional clothing and body paint who are armed with swords and shields



Maculelê is a high-energy,mock-fight dance performed with sticks and machetes to the rapid beat of drums. Its origins are debated: either from slaves practicing defensive tactics in the sugar-cane plantations or from an African man named “Maculele” who successfully fought off an invading tribe, but died in the process.

Our Group

mestre marisa

Mestre Marisa Cordeiro is the founder and executive director of Gingarte Capoeira and a shining symbol of the Brazilian community in Chicago. Born in Curvelo, Brazil, Marisa trained at the prestigious Cordão de Ouro Capoeira Academy in São Paulo with top instructors such as Mestre Suassuna, Mestre Canguru, and Mestre Urubu Malandro. She is one of the highest-ranking female capoeiristas in the world.

Mestre Marisa first came to the United States in 1989 as a performer with the renowned international group Oba Oba. They performed throughout the United States and Latin America. Two years later, she returned to Chicago and established Gingarte Capoeira in 1991.


profesor ligerinho

Contra-Mestre Ligerinho

instrutor artista

Professor Artista

instrutor girafa

Professor Girafa


Professor Manhoso

instrutor poderoso

Professor Poderoso

instrutor tamandua

Professor Tamanduá

profesor tinta forte

Professor Tinta Forte

Professor Urso Polar


Instrutora Agora

instrutora bamba

Instrutora Bamba


Instrutora Biriba


Instrutor Frade

A Home in Chicago

School Programs

We are dedicated to bringing capoeira to as many people as possible. If you’re interested in bringing capoeira to your school, please let us know here. If you’re not ready for a program, you can always have us do a demonstration!

School Programs that we’ve been involved with:

After School Matters
Chicago Public Schools
U Of C Charter Schools
Alvin Ailey Dance Camp
U Of C Lab Schools
Young Audiences
Chicago High School For The Arts
Gallery 37
Children’s Home And Aid
Quad Communities Development Corporation
Urban Gateways
Reavis Elementary
Cameron Elementary
Castellanos Elementary
Mark Sheridan Academy
UIC Jazz Camp

board of Directors

Our board meets regularly to help guide the overall vision of the group alongside Mestre Marisa, our Executive Director.  If you are interested in joining our Board of Directors, we accept nominations once a year. We look for members that hold a genuine interest in Capoeira and who can help expand our vision as a nonprofit.

Board President: James White

Board Treasurer: Patrick Cameron

Board Director: Emilios Chronopolous

Board Director: Kris Kopriva

Board Director: Carlyn So

Board Director: Rhea Yap

support our nonprofit

As a completely volunteer-run organization, we are proud of our accomplishments. We have:

Generous partners:

United Airlines
Chicago DCASE
Erie Neighborhood House
International House At The University Of Chicago
S And C Electric
Illinois Arts Council
Driehaus Foundation
UIC Theater
Old Town School Of Folk Music
DuSable Museum
Museum Of Science And Industry
Museum Of Contemporary Art
Field Museum
Millennium Park
Chicago Park District
University of Chicago RSO
Chicago Samba School
Evanston Samba School
Swing Brasileiro
Ruth Page Center for the Arts

Become a sponsor