History of Grupo Senzala
Grupo Senzala is the world’s oldest organized Capoeira group that remains together. The inception of the group traces back to 1960, when three brothers from the Northeastern state of Bahia moved to Rio and decided to continue their studies of Capoeira on their own. They were soon joined by other teenagers interested in the art which were to become the founding fathers of Grupo Senzala.
The name Senzala, however, was only used for the first time in 1966, at which point the group was almost 20-people strong. Senzala was the place where slaves were kept during the hours when they were not working in Brazil. By choosing that name for the group, the founders were making their first statement that they viewed Capoeira not only as a rich sport and martial art, but also as a part of Brazil’s cultural heritage.
In 1967, the then group of students signed up to participate in Rio de Janeiro’s first Berimbau de Ouro, a competition created by a folklore promotion entity to promote Capoeira and evaluate which was the best group in Brazil’s former capital. With a theatrical performance in which they showed their expertise at the martial aspects and acrobatics of Capoeira but also underscored its history and traditions, Grupo Senzala won this first competition.
They also won the following two Berimbaus de Ouro. As a result, the Capoeira community gave them the titles of masters of Capoeira.
Grupo Senzala graduation system
Crude (or white) New student
Yellow Beginner student
Orange Advanced beginner
Grey Intermediate student
Violet yellow Professor
Brown yellow Contra Mestre
Brown Contra Mestre
Red yellow Contra Mestre
Senzala in the World
United States of America
There are Senzala groups in all the states of Brazil but there is not enough place on this website to put them all.