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Silvio Dos Reis; Capoeira Angola Mestre Silvinho

Submitted by Lisa Kwak on August 11, 2021 - 11:38am

To celebrate and to recognize that the contributions of Black Americans should be appreciated beyond the month of February, the Department of Dance is using its website and social media platforms to spotlight a different Black dance artist in the greater Seattle area every month through 2021. February, March, April, May, June, and July issues are also available.

In August, we celebrate Silvio Dos Reis, also known as Mestre Silvinho!

Mestre Silvinho wearing shirt that says "Rabo De Arraia"

Silvio Dos Reis (He/Him)

My name is Silvio Dos Reis and I am known in the Capoeira community as Mestre Silvinho. I started the practice of Capoeira Angola in Belo Horizonte, Brasil, 35 years ago. In my hometown, I worked teaching kids and youths at public and private schools, and in social programs for adults and homeless youth. I moved to Seattle, WA in 2004 to direct the branch of the International Capoeira Angola Foundation (ICAF) here. Since then I have been teaching ongoing Capoeira classes at ICAF Seattle, organizing international conferences, and teaching summer camps for public and private schools. I also have taught classes for the University of Washington, Evergreen State College, and Western Washington University.

I see Capoeira as a powerful tool to educate, build self-esteem, and develop our critical view of the world. Capoeira promotes interpersonal and social healing through the learning of its fundamentals such as movements, music, history, and philosophy. 

  • Website: www.unionculturalcenter.org
  • Patreon: Union Cultural Center
  • Facebook: Silvio Dos Reis
  • Classes Taught at the Union Cultural Center: 803 South King St (all levels):
    • Monday - Thursdays, 7-9pm 
    • Sundays 4-6pm
    • Mondays we have a class specifically for Afro-Descendants 

Silvio holding the Berimbau and teaching in a roda (capoeira cypher). They are in a brightly colored studio with many Berimbaus on the wall.

What does being Black mean to you? How does Blackness inform your art?

I acknowledge, reaffirm, and fight for the understanding and the value of the African Diaspora in the world. I recognize my black heritage from my ancestors through my family lineage and the practice of Capoeira Angola. The African Diaspora is represented in all of Capoeira's fundamentals such as the movements, music, history, and philosophy, as well as in teaching in a holistic way how to better interact between ourselves and mother nature. 

What inspired you to become a dancer?

Capoeira is a martial art with dance elements too. It is powerful for education and community building. I was inspired to continue Capoeira after I first started practicing because the community environment in Capoeira gave me self-esteem, friends, and a family to learn and grow with. But what really got me the first time I saw Capoeira was the music from the "Berimbau", the musical bow instrument that leads the rhythm and elevates our spirits during our Capoeira expression.

What is one thing you would tell the younger version of you based on what you have learned in your journey?

Read more. Make sure to follow your heart when you have big life decisions to make.

What is something in your career that you are proud of?

Studying the history and philosophy of this cultural art form makes me proud to be able to identify as a Black Brazilian. I am proud of the beautiful community I am part of all over the world- a community that is centered in friendship, healing, personal empowerment, and community building. I am proud to share the Capoeira legacy with my family.

What do you hope your legacy will be?

I hope the younger students that I teach Capoeira to will be able to use the Capoeira philosophy in their lives, grow up with a critical view of the world, and never lose hope to make the changes in the world that they are looking for. 

We as a dance and martial art community understand the value of our elders that dedicated their lives to the art and still need a lot of support. And maybe if people in the world dance, move, and connect with other people we will have a healthy society, physically, spiritually and mentally.

Silvio bends sideways while squatting to dodge a capoeira kick         Silvio happily leans on the Berimbau with a soft grin

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