WorldBeat Center would like to celebrate all the graduates and initiates that participated in this year’s Capoeira batisado with Os Malandros De Mestre Touro and Mestre Preto Velho at WorldBeat Cultural Center. On October 28th, 2023 over 30 students received their belts and certificates after participating in the capoeira “roda.” Master Dennis Newsome also known as Mestre Petro Velho has taken these kids out of an environment that is detrimental to their wellbeing. I will never forget  one of the stories that Dennis shared about the mother of his students that was sitting on a corner prostituting. Maestro Dennis said he pulled over and cried when he realized that was his student’s mother. So many children have grown up at the WorldBeat Center and with great instructors like Mestre Petro Velho whom I’ve known since he was 16. 

Capoeira, well known as an African Brazilian Dance/Fight ritual evolved in Brazil during the era of enslavement. The Batisado is an initiation ceremony for the newest students into the Capoeira “Roda” (Circle). Various rituals and traditional Batisado practices are employed during the ceremony. For older students it is a time to receive recognition for their progress and to have the opportunity to play Capoeira with other students from other schools and with other Professors, Contra-Mestres, Mestres and our Mestre (Master), Mestre Preto Velho (Master Old Black). The Batisado is a celebration of the Capoeira path. When executed by masters, Capoeira represents an explosive, yet gracefully executed series of movements most akin to dance that has as its purpose a game, a philosophy of life, a self defense and triumph in battle. 

Mestre Preto Velho is the first African born outside of Brazil to hold the title of “Master of Capoeira” in its 500 years of history. This title was bestowed on him by “Grupo Cultural de Capoeira Corda Bamba” de Mestre Touro of Brazil. Mestre Touro is one of only a few grand masters of Capoeira in Brazil.  Mestre Preto Velho is registered with both the “Liga Carioca de Capoeira” and the “Federation of Capoeira Sport of the State of Rio de Janeiro”. Mestre Preto Velho also has other schools in the U.S. and returns to Brazil periodically to have select students train in the grand tradition of the Brazilian African masters.