About Us

The Brazilian Cultural Arts Exchange (B.C.A.E.) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to the growth and development of Brazilian cultural and performance arts in the Gainesville, FL community. It was formed in 2006 and received status as a nonprofit organization in 2010. Besides offering regular class programs for children and adults, the B.C.A.E. participates in numerous cultural and international festivals in North Central Florida, and also provides capoeira workshops and educational demonstrations to schools, youth programs, and other local organizations.

The B.C.A.E.’s Capoeira Program:

Capoeira is a cultural martial art of Afro-Brazilian origins that has been steadily gaining popularity all over the United States and the world.   To provide the community of North Central Florida with capoeira, the B.C.A.E. is a proud partner of Capoeira Luanda, supervised by renowned master Mestre Jelon Viera. Capoeira Luanda is an international capoeira group, with centers and academies in the United States, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Spain, France, Peru, Colombia, Italy, and Turkey, that is dedicated to honoring capoeira’s traditional roots from Angola and Brazil, while welcoming and encouraging those who have yet to discover this art form.

For more information about Capoeira Luanda and Mestre Jelon please visit:


Mission Statement

The mission of the Brazilian Cultural Arts Exchange is to promote, inspire, and develop an understanding and appreciation of Brazilian culture in North Central Florida.  The B.C.A.E. primarily focuses on community enrichment through workshops, classes, presentations, cultural exchange programs, educational seminars, and retreats specializing in Afro-Brazilian martial arts and dance. The success of the Brazilian Cultural Arts Exchange depends on the generosity of individuals, companies, and organizations. If you or your organization would like to donate to help us continue offering programs for culturally underserved populations in North Central Florida, as well as support our scholarship program for those students with financial need, please Contact Us or donate through Paypal with the link below.

Youth Leadership Scholarship recipients (2013)

Youth Leadership Scholarship recipients (2013)


donate button


Classes are taught at “The Movement” at 1212 North Main St, Gainesville Fl, 32601 (next to Publix).

Kids Capoeira (4 – 8years)

Wednesday: 4:30-5:30pm
Saturday: 11am-12noon

Advanced Youth Capoeira (8 – 12years)

Tuesday: 5 – 6pm
Saturday: 11am-12noon

Adult Capoeira

Tuesday: 6 -7:15pm
Thursday: 7pm-8:15pm

Click here for Capoeira waiver / registration pack (2014)

If you would like to pay online using PayPal, please use the link at the bottom of the page.


Our Instructors



2016 BATIZADO:  MARCH 10-12th


Batizado 2013

Thank you to all of our supporters and participants!


A massive thank you to our special guests too!

Contra-Mestre Borracha

Contra-Mestre Chuvisco

Professor Alegria

Graduado Vampiro

Click here for more Photos!



What are the benefits of Capoeira?

What are the benefits of Capoeira?

The game challenges physical agility and coordination, as well as strategy and interaction. Students learn the physical art, as well as how to play music (an essential component of the game) on a variety of instruments used in the roda, and to sing and speak in Brazilian Portuguese.

Can kids benefit from Capoeira? 

Can kids benefit from Capoeira?

Capoeira combines all the elements that children love: music, dance, play, and self-defense. Learning a discipline such as Capoeira at an early age is invaluable for any child. This unique martial art develops discipline, coordination, strength, and rhythm, while the group setting emphasizes social skills, communication and respect for others in a positive and fun environment.

Both boys and girls love capoeira!

Is there a belt system in Capoeira? 

Is there a belt system in Capoeira?

Rather than using belts, as the skills of students improve, they display their proficiency in the art of Capoeira by gaining new cords. Capoeira Luanda uses eight different colors in their adult 18+ graduation system.





White (Raw Cord) (Aluno): Students begin their Capoeira training at this level. The Corda Crua, translated as Raw Cord, signifies that rather than being seen as inexperienced, students are seen as being full of potential for growth.

Yellow | White (Aluno): Typically this is a cord given to students to welcome them to the world of Capoeira.

Yellow (Aluno): At this level students begin to demonstrate an understanding of the Capoeira game, and have a basic knowledge of the movements, such as kicks and ground techniques, as well as music. Students know the choruses to many songs and are starting to play instruments.

Yellow | Orange (Aluno): Transitional cord.

Orange (Aluno): At this level students have a much deeper understanding of the Capoeira game. They now begin utilizing many different kicks and acrobatic movements. At this level, students are also capable of singing solos during a roda and playing many different instruments.

Orange | Blue (Aluno): Students at this level now fully incorporate a large variety of kicks and acrobatic movements, have a large repertoire of songs, and can play all instruments.

Blue (Graduado): At this level, students earn the title of “Graduado”, which means “Graduated”. In a sense, this is a new beginning for students, a new “Corda Crua”, because, as mentioned before, assessments are based more on teaching ability, which is a new step for students. They must learn to share their own knowledge with other students.

Blue | Green (Graduado): Transitional cord.

Green (Instructor): At this level, Capoeiristas continue to improve on their skills overall, which now includes the ability to teach. They are very strong in the roda, and are equally as strong when teaching a class. Their strength comes from their ability to incorporate malandragem, or deviousness, into their game. It’s malandragem that gives Capoeiristas their ability to surprise and confuse their opponents.

Green | Purple (Instructor): Transitional cord.

Purple (Professor): To reach this level, Capoeiristas must not only have proven themselves to be skilled martial artists, but also proficient teachers. Professors are regarded very highly, as they have come very far and have devoted their lives to being part of Capoeira. Their malandragem skills continue to increase, since they now have the ability to apply the knowledge they’ve gained over the years to their dealings in the outside world, and vice-versa.

Purple | Brown (Professor): Transitional cord.

Brown (Contra-mestre): Contra-mestre are not only some of the most important figures of their group, but in the world of Capoeira itself. They are the right hand of the Mestres within their group, and are so esteemed and honored that, even at this level, they are respected as Mestres. Formidable players in the roda, Contra-mestre can seamlessly combine all of their skills into a fierce and relentless game.

Brown | Black (Contramestre): Transitional cord.

Black (Mestre): This is the apex for students of Capoeira; the highest and hardest level to achieve. Mestres are legendary for their skill, wisdom, and tact both inside and out of the roda. They have solidified their Capoeira games by consolidating all of the physical skills they’ve learned through their years of training with the cunning and trickery they’ve learned through their life experience. Mestres comprise the top echelon of all Capoeira groups, and it is therefore their right to oversee and supervise the on-goings of the group they lead.

What is a Batizado?

What is a Batizado?

Batizado is a traditional annual event in Capoeira.  The batizado literally meaning baptism in Portuguese is when the new student will play with a more advanced student, who takes care of the beginner, and helps them to develop their capoeira game. The Batizado welcomes new students into the school and strengthens community bonds.

Batizados are large events and are very important for the group organizing it. It is the point in the year where the new members will be baptized officially into the group and receive their first cords and where the other members, depending on their progress, will get a new one. A typical batizado will take several days and consist of workshops, the actual Batizado itself and a Troca das Cordas. Often many groups from more than one region will attend a Batizado for other groups. This allows for development of the game by contact with other players, teachers and styles.

What kind of workout can I expect from a Capoeira class?

What kind of workout can I expect from a Capoeira class?

Capoeira is a physically and mentally challenging art form that is very rewarding. Because Capoeira incorporates all categories of movement, Capoeira provides one of the best aerobic and strength-building workouts available within the world of performing arts. Unlike martial arts, Capoeira does not have a static fighting stance. The basic “position” of Capoeira is a movement called the ginga [pronounced shin-ga], which consists of stepping back and forth and side to side, similar to steps you’d perform in an aerobics class. The basic kicks and dodges of Capoeira form an intense calisthenics-style workout. Capoeira’s diverse vocabulary of movements will help you strength train, using your own body as resistance, and will work your entire body. Capoeira also builds coordination and balance much like dance, and teaches strength and application like a martial art. In a Capoeira class, expect to be exposed to a variety of movement, conditioning exercises, and strong attacks and defenses that can be tailored to your own strengths and personal ability level.

Why is it called ‘playing’ Capoeira?

Why is it called ‘playing’ Capoeira?

Though Capoeira is part martial art, dance, and cultural expression, it is above all a fun and intensely challenging game requiring physical stamina and mental strategy. Capoeira “players” train movements, attacks, defenses, sequences, and “tricks” individually with the intent to adapt and fit them together with other students. When players (opponents) “face off” or spar, it is not uncommon for them to never actually make contact. Capoeira players focus on being able to control their bodies and “show” strikes and take-downs in the game without connecting with their opponent and disrupting the flow of the game itself. There are many sub-styles or games within Capoeira, some slow, some fast. Some styles focus on complicated and beautiful acrobatic movements while others are played with the intent to train martial kicks and take-downs. Capoeira players change their intensity, style, and focus depending on the rhythm of the music.

Can Capoeira be used for self defense?

Can Capoeira be used for self-defense?

Capoeira was developed with one purpose in mind: self-defense. Many people who don’t understand Capoeira may doubt its effectiveness in a fight. This is a powerful weapon for a capoeira practitioner since the element of surprise is a very important one for any capoeirista, and many current UFC competitors has cross trained in Capoeira, including Anderson Silva, Anthony Pettis and Shogun Rua. Marcus ‘Lelo’ Aurelio is the most well know MMA fighter to use capoeira as his base fighting style. You can see him in action here.

What is axé?

What is axé?

The term axé (also spelled aché or ashé – all pronounced ah-SHEH) comes from the Yoruba peoples of Western Africa. It is the name they gave to the life force; the concept is similar to the Eastern idea of qi. In capoeira today, axé has come to mean something like “energy.” If a roda has a lot of axé, it means it has good vibes, powerful energy. Some groups use the word as a greeting.

Am I too old/too young to start Capoeira?

Am I too old/too young to start Capoeira?

It’s never too late, or too early, to start Capoeira. We have had students start Capoeira in their sixties with great success, while our youngest students have started at age three! Classes are tailored to meet the ability level of each individual student and the group as a whole.

When do you hold classes?

When do you hold classes?

Our younger kids classes (4-8 years) are held on Wednesday 4:30-5:30pm, and Saturday from 11am-12 noon.
The older kids (8-12 years) classes are held on Tuesday from 5-6pm and Saturday from 11am-12 noon.
The adult classes are held on Tuesday from 6-7:15pm and on Thursday from 7-8:15pm. Please contact us if you have any questions!

Why is music important in Capoeira? 

Why is music important in Capoeira?

Music is an important part of capoeira and its identity. It gives cadence and form to the games being played in the roda, and the songs range from those with lyrics which may reference the players in the roda, to those that detail the history and various aspects of capoeira. The speed of the music and the particular tone being played by the berimbau sets the speed of the game, faster music means a faster, flashier game, while slower music signifies games should be slower and more technical.

The main instrument in capoeira, and what is considered the symbol of capoeira, is an instrument called the berimbau. It’s so important to capoeira, that Mestre Bimba once said “It is impossible to learn capoeira without the berimbau.”

The berimbau is a stick of wood that is bent and strung with metal. A gourd is tied to the bottom that amplifies the sound that is made when the string is struck with a stick. A stone, called a dobrao, is used to alternate the notes made when the string is played. A caxixi, a small container of beads, gives additional sounds that complete the overall sound that is produced when the berimbau is played.

The atabaque is a big drum that serves to hold the main beat and speed of the music that is being played. It must play constantly during the music and games, and when capoeiristas switch off playing it, great care must be taken to ensure the atabaque does not stop.

The pandeiro is basically a tambourine. It helps give variety during the music, and is one of the more widely played instruments due to its ease in playing.

Other instruments are the reco-reco, or agogo. These aren’t used as often, but together with the other instruments they make a unique musical experience.

The songs are sung in Portuguese, which can be daunting for beginners. However, they’re not hard to learn. Singing in a roda is an uplifting experience that helps give energy to both the spectators and the players in the roda.

What different classes do you offer?

What different classes do you offer?

We offer a number of different options for class:

6 class card – $65, Kid’s monthly classes – $75, Student monthly classes – $75, Adult monthly classes – $80, Family package (2 kids) – $125, Family package (Adult and child) – $130, Family package (2 adults) – $135.

You can pay online through PayPal using the payment link at the bottom of the page. Please ensure you bring your receipt of payment with you to class!  


Contact Us

If you have any questions, would like to view our board of directors, or would just like to visit us, please drop us a line!

‘The Movement’ – 1212 North Main St, Gainesville Fl, 32601 (next to Publix).
Graduada Delicada (Catherine Powers) – Executive Director
(352) 359-4143