From our humble beginnings in the small town of Peterlee we have now been teaching Capoeira in the North East of England for over 25 years!
Group Senzala North East was founded in 1994 by (now) Mestre Tazmania (Jimi McAvoy), who began practising Capoeira under the guidance of Mestre Gato (one of the founding members from Rio de Janeiro) in 1989.
We now run regular weekly classes in Newcastle upon Tyne, Durham and Middlesbrough.
We have organised many Capoeira workshops and Batizado (grading) events and have been privileged to have hosted many world-renowned Capoeira masters from Brazil, Europe and the UK - these include many of the founding members of the Senzala group such as Mestres Gato, Peixinho, Sorriso, Garrincha, Gil Velho, as well as masters from other groups such as Mestres Suassuna, Marrom, Urubu Malandro, Poncianinho and many Contra Mestres, Professors and Instructors!
We have also participated in a number of events including the Vamos Festival, as well as providing specialised workshops for local schools, community centres and organisations.
We strongly believe that Capoeira can be an effective tool to enable community engagement and provide people with the opportunity to develop new skills and experiences, self-confidence, fitness and new friendships.
Our classes are led by Mestre Tazmania, Professor Caranguejo, Professor Scuzzi and Instructor Feliz. All teachers have travelled to Brazil on a number of occasions to further their training in Capoeira, as well as attending Capoeira events throughout the UK, Europe and North America.
Group Senzala's history begins in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro. Paulo, Rafael and Gilberto Flores, three brothers, originally from Bahia (homeland of Capoeira) had moved to Rio de Janeiro. They began to study Capoeira, during their school vacations, back in Salvador, Bahia. They trained with two of the most famous masters that ever lived, namely Master Bimba and Master Pastinha. Capoeira had become an important part of their lives that they began to train on a regular basis. The brothers held weekly training sessions in their apartment located in the Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro.
In 1964, the first of the now famous masters joined the three brothers in practising Capoeira. That master was Fernando Albuquerque, who was given the Capoeira name, Gato. Soon, another joined the group by the name of Claudio Jose Queiroz, followed by his friend Peixinho. Then came Garrincha and Sorriso, following him was Master Gato's brother Gil. The group was growing. Within two years the now famous mestres had joined and began training at the Laranjeiras. Among the people who joined were, Itamar, Mosquito, Barracha, Sanfona, Bigode, Jimmy, Williamn and Antero.
During 1966, whilst at a demonstration at a German Club, the group introduced themselves as Grupo Senzala.
Originally the group trained according to the teaching's of Master Bimba but soon began to incorporate influences from Rio de Janeiro but mainly from Bahia. By this time the group was the premier Capoeira group in Rio de Janeiro and one of the most widely known in the whole of Brazil.
Head of Group Senzala North East, Jimi McAvoy has been practising Capoeira since 1989 under the guidance of Mestre Gato - one of the founding members of the Senzala group in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
One of Mestre Tazmania's first students, Peter has been playing Capoeira since 1994. As well as supporting the classes in Newcastle, Peter is also the driving force behind the Durham and Middlesbrough classes.
Since he began training Capoeira with Mestre Tazmania in 1998, Rob has dedicated his life to the practise and promotion of Capoeira. Travelling to Brazil, America and Europe to learn from world renowed Mestres.
The group senzala graduation system consists of 9 cords (belts) - ranging from white through red (Mestre).