MENTHORS – Gathering of tribes Slovenija 2023, Capoeira retreat
Mestre Nasr ‘Versátil’ Ismail
Versátil is known for his detailed yet motivating teaching style and knowledge of the seemingly disparate aspects of dance and combat. Versátil also holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology and has developed a suite of Capoeira, Martial Arts, and Movement based therapies called The Warrior Class. Within these modalities, Versátil works with youth in addiction, young adults with developmental differences, couples and individual clients, as well as Transformational Justice, Community Accountability and Repair within Capoeira, as well as other movement and cultural communities. This work in community and individual well being informs Versátil’s work in Capoeira, centering around the tenet that Capoeira itself Is a method for Community Well Being, and should be regarded thusly, with mindfulness and professionalism.
He has over forty years of experience in the martial arts and thirty years in Capoeira. As a Mestre of Capoeira, Versátil is one of a handful of people to have reached this rank in the United States and is one of the most experienced American born practitioners of the art. Versátil regularly teaches in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas of Southern California. He also travels often to teach throughout the USA, Mexico, Croatia, Lebanon, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand.
Being a member of Capoeira Batuque, Versátil and his students are participating in a tradition of Capoeira first brought to Southern California by Mestre Amen Santo, from the teaching of the legendary Mestre Waldemar da Paixão. This tradition and reaches back to the legendary Besouro Mangangá.
“Capoeira for me represents a vital tool for self-discovery and the development of an identity in today’s society.
It is a playground, offering a space for serious dialogue just as much as for ludic enjoyment. In Capoeira, we depart on a journey as an individual being, and are thrown into a labyrinth of ideas, history, ambivalent definitions, opposites, politics.
As we progress in the process, we learn to navigate these conundrums, educate ourselves by listening and living with each other, we learn to tolerate what we can not yet understand and yet follow our thirst for knowledge. How far you go, what you accept or reject, and where you draw those lines is up to you. I am here to share a bit of my journey so far, to learn from yours and hopefully construct a common ground for a fruitful interaction, our own „campo de mandinga“.” Vaqueiro
He started Capoeira in 1998 under Martinho Fiuza, pioneer of Capoeira in Europe (since 1973). He has taught and played capoeira on 4 continents. In 2011, he founded „Capoeira Ligando Mundos“ with the goal of promoting capoeira as a social tool. Since 2017 he works under the tutelage of Mestre Umoi. He has worked with at-risk youth in Germany and all over Europe, and is currently implementing Capoeira and its philosophy in a number of sports and educational projects.
Brazilian, from the city of Belém on the state of Pará, in the Brazilian Amazon region. He has been living in Germany for 11 years and teaching capoeira in Freising for 10 years, and two years ago he founded a Brazilian culture school with rhythm, dance, cooking and Portuguese language classes for capoeiristas. Since 2017 he works under the tutelage of Mestre Umoi.
PhD in Social Anthropology, researcher at the Center for Contemporary Anthropology – TRANSES.
Since 2007, he has been developing research on capoeira with the following main themes: analysis of socio-cultural policies; migrations, identity processes and contemporary subjectivity.
“Capoeira gave me the opportunity to learn, teach and observe the diversity of the art in 5 continents : Europe, Africa, Americas and Asia. From a micro to macro perspective (inside and outside the roda), the connecting power of capoeira always fascinated me. More than a martial art or a dance the game of capoeira has deeply connected people all around the world. Each communities are unique and at the same time sharing a collective cultural matrix (fundamentals). Beyond the pure fighting, aesthetic, melodic and strategic infinite knowledge quest, being able to start understanding and flowing in this universe is for me, the real Ginga we eventually learn during the journey in this “resistance and freedom fight”.”
Discovering capoeira in his French home town in the early 2000’ as a hobby, Caatinga started to embrace this Art as a whole culture in 2008 when he first travelled to Bahía. During his time there, he visited and trained with various groups and great masters until he found his home. “I met the Angoleiros do mar at mestre Lua Rasta’s roda and was immediately hypnotised by the style”. He started training with mestre Guaxini and contramestre Café and joined mestre Lua’s Bando anunciador da capoeira Angola de rua. Capoeira, afro-brazilian music, instruments making and street theatre became part of the study and day by day lessons.
In 2010, Caatinga moved back to France and kept studying with contramestre Fubuia until 2013 when he moved back to his home town and founded the group Angoleiros do mar Tregor.
With Master degrees in history and social anthropology he keeps dedicating his life to the study and teaching of capoeira Angola and Afro-Brazilian popular culture from kinder garden to universities, in divers social and cultural projects under the direction of mestre Marcelo Angola. Now, Based in France and Mexico, with a nomadic soul, he regularly travels throughout the world to deepened his knowledge.
Nikola Orešković (contramestre Cavalo) was a pioneer in creating the Capoeira scene in Croatia. As there were no Brazilian teachers there, he and Macaquinha formed Amazonas and started working with mestre Pontapé. Contramestre Cavalo is active in Slovenia with Balanço da Meia Lua and in Borneo with Arvore da Vida groups. He extensively travels around the world for more knowledge. He trained with teachers like mestre Acordeon, mestre Russo, mestre Camaleao, mestre Itapuã Beiramar, mestre Pantera, mestre Marrom, mestre Nô, mestres Cigano & Rosita, mestre Umoi to name a few…
He is a member of several Croatian artist organizations – DIVERT, UPUH (Croatian Dancers Association), and HDFD (Croatian Film Artists Association). Stuntman by profession, with over 20 years of experience in the film industry, he also worked as an associate professor at the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb.
Beside Capoeira he is a martial arts aficionado and is a master degree holder (3rd DAN) in Taekwondo. He co-founded the first Croatian Martial Arts Tricks demo team – “X-OUT. He has been involved in contemporary dance and physical theatre, circus and acrobatics for a long time. As a teacher, performer and participant. Together with Katjuša he created Fluid balance – creative acrobatics.
Katjuša Kovačič (professora Katjuša) fell in love with capoeira in 2006 and stayed highly dedicated to it till today. Learning from mestre Alegria; student of gran mestre Nô (Angola Palmares), later mestre Pontapé; student of gran mestre Panteira (ACDP). As a professora she formed the tribe Balanço da Meia Lua in Ljubljana which she mentors together with contramestre Cavalo and is active in Borneo with a group Arvore da Vida lead by estagiario Bocao. She works with children, adults and persons with disabilities. She applies expressions of Capoeira in her performances and other projects. Beside Capoeira she was enrolled in 8 year contemporary dance school, later on with improvisation, physical and street theatre. The street is where she started to produce her own shows by the age of 15. In her 20’s she moved to Beijing for a year to be part of BIAS Circus acrobatic school. She runs Fluid balance – creative acrobatics together with Nikola. She continues till this day the journey of exploration and connection of different disciplines, cultures, languages and expressions. Currently working on a CD Guerreiro with her author songs, composing them with Capoeira and other instruments.
She travelled Brazil and other countries where she trained/lived with several teachers: Mestre Salvador (CDO), mestre Umoi (União na Capoeira), Mestre Bamba (Associação de Bimba), Mestre Trovoada João Paulo (Nação), Mestre Pitbull (Jacobina Arte), Mestres Magrelo & China (Raça), mestre Versátil (Capoeira Batuque – USA), mestra Rosita & mestre Cigano (LGDM México).