In a predominantly Hispanic neighbourhood, Jackson Heights, Queens has plenty of dance studios and other cultural organizations. As a Capoeira practitioner, I noticed that there was not Capoeira in Queens representing my group or any other Capoeira classes available in the area of Jackson Heights and began contemplating the idea of starting a free Capoeira class for the community. The goal of this idea did not only start my tenure as a Capoeira Instructor but also was the foundation to build a cultural bridge between the Brazilian culture and the diverse Hispanic communities in the area.
With the supervision of professor Leandro “Rá”, I began teaching Capoeira in Queens at a multi-purpose studio in Jackson Heights, Queens. First, it was hard to recruit students and there were many classes were nobody showed to train. Many times I was discouraged and wanted to cancel the classes, but I found support and motivation in the most unexpected way.
One day I received a call from a parent that wanted his two young daughters to train. These young but talented students, came to class every Saturday for 4 months straight without missing one session. They had a true desired to train and become better and many times surprised me with their ability to perform complex capoeira movements meant for more advanced students.
The students were visiting New York City for a short period of time and had to return to their native country of Peru to start the academic year. Their commitment and motivation kept me from cancelling the class. Shortly after, more students began to attend the class and the Capoeira in Queen’s class grew. Now I have been teaching capoeira for over 2 years and I hope to teach for many more.
As the class grew, it was time to expand to a nearby by Dance Studio more appropriate for martial arts training. I have been teaching in the Studio for nearly 1 year now and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to bring Capoeira to the neighbourhood of Jackson Heights.
To learn more about Jackson Heights click here.