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'It's an instrument of peace' | Dad, daughter bring Brazilian dance to Decatur

Not only does Capoeira celebrate Brazilian culture, Dani said it also provides a sense of community.

DECATUR, Ga. —  

For 45 years, Francisco Da Silva practiced Capoeira

It's an art form that combines musical instruments, martial arts, dance, acrobatics and community. He ran a capoeira group in Brazil, and brought it to Atlanta with his daughter, Dani, in 2002.

Now, the father and daughter duo run a Capoeira studio in downtown Decatur. They teach and perform across the metro Atlanta area.

"It's just like our philosophy of life. It is what we do," said Dani Da Silva, managing director for Capoeira Maculele. "We love to share our culture, and we're so thankful to the Atlanta community for being so open to learn our culture."

The classes are open to anyone of all ages, Dani said. They teach the movements to all, from children to seniors. 

It's not choreographed either. Dani said you learn the movements in the classes and everyone moves freely when the group comes together.

Not only does Capoeira celebrate Brazilian culture, Dani said it also provides a sense of community.

"Capoeira is a place where you come to find friends, to learn something new, to challenge yourself, to spend time with your family, to learn this amazing, beautiful culture," she said.

Francisco called it a "natural medicine." He said the movements and music are good for your mind and body. 

"Capoeira is an instrument of peace," he said. "It unites people and it makes you feel good."

Francisco leads all the classes in Portuguese to make the experience authentic to Brazil.

During the pandemic, their group wanted to keep Capoeira and the joy that comes with it alive. They hosted performances via Zoom.

Now, they are slowly teaming up with local universities and other sites to host in-person performances. They run classes every day in their Decatur studio.

Besides teaching, the duo also runs a nonprofit organization where they teach Capoeira to refugees. 

"We're not just teaching Capoeira. We're transforming people's lives through the art form," she said.