Marcos da Silva, Mestre Barrão, was born in the port city of Recife, on the North East coast of Brazil. Recife is renowned for its Brazilian music, dance, and long Capoeira tradition. In 1974, Marcos began studying Capoeira with Mestre Pirajá. While learning the foundations of the art, he showed an affinity for the drums and other instruments and the skills that would conduct his life. He learned about the unstable situations of the street: how to be wise and clever when playing, how to read opponents, and how to judge situations that one invariably finds oneself in, both inside and outside the Roda of Capoeira.
In 1980, Marcos began to teach. In 1982, a young Barrão was determined to test his skills against the best opponents he could find and entered the prestigious National Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Such was his skill and fortune that, in the end, Mestre Barrão left as Brazilian Champion. Upon his return, many opportunities came his way to teach in schools, community centres, and universities throughout Brazil, and he eventually found himself at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Ultimately, in 1992, he immigrated to Canada and began teaching at various locations. He started The Annual International Capoeira Encounter and has renowned and respected Mestres from all over the world visit and share their skills. In 1996, he opened Canada’s first Academy of Capoeira, Axé Capoeira.
Today, Mestre Barrão frequently receives invitations to conduct and teach Capoeira at international workshops.
Elvio Dos Santos, known in Capoeira as Mestre Tigrão, was born in Guarulhos, São Paulo, Brazil. He began training Capoeira at the age of 10 years and has not stopped since, continuing to train and improve in all aspects of Capoeira and constantly searching for new techniques.
Throughout the years, Mestre Tigrão’s gift for teaching has become evident. Through his profession, Tigrão demonstrates his philosophy of life and his love for this Brazilian martial art. He has participated in and organized numerous rodas, competitions, festivals, and workshops worldwide. Moreover, his experience in social work in São Paulo and Minas Gerais, Brazil, has taught him to value the benefits that Capoeira offers the community. Tigrão also sees Capoeira as a link between the past and the future, whose deep roots respect tradition yet continue to evolve.
In 2002, Tigrão met Mestre Barrão and became part of Grupo Axé Capoeira. The following year he came to Canada to participate in Mestre Barrão’s Capoeira Festival. He stayed to teach classes in Vancouver and train directly under the supervision of Mestre Barrão, from whom he learned much about Capoeira and life. In 2018, he received his belt of Master status from the hands of his Mestre in an Axé Capoeira batizado ceremony in Brazil. He has seen and played with great Mestres and capoeiristas and continues to learn many lessons from one jogo (game) to the next.
Cassey Mears, Gazela, began training in 2016 after watching her son participate. She has an extensive history as a gymnast and gymnastics coach. As an instructor of beginner capoeira, Cassey focuses on foundations, body awareness, and improving flexibility and mobility.
Along with training capoeira, Cassey is the President and administrator of Axé Society for Capoeira.