About Us


Ubirajara Almeida, a student of legendary Mestre Bimba, is an author, musician, historian, and an iconic capoeira master. One of the early pioneers to bring Capoeira to the United States in the late 1970's. Mestre Acordeon has been a guide for many generations of capoeiristas across the world in his nearly 60 years of dedication to this incredible art.  

"Capoeira is a tool to make people better human beings" 

- Mestre Acordeon


Suellen Einarsen is the first American woman to earn the title of Capoeira Mestra. She began her path in Capoeira in 1982 learning from Mestre Acordeon and is part of the first generation of his students in the U.S.A. She is widely recognized as one of the greatest Capoeira Mestras in the world.​

Mestre Avestruz

Founder of Capoeira Girassol.

Mestre Avestruz began training with Mestre Acordeon in the Bay Area in 1981.He founded Capoeira Girassol in 1984, based in Santa Fe and teaching there for ten years.Since leaving New Mexico, he has taught in Athens, GA and Boulder, CO (Canto do Galo), and founded his current group, Fundo da Mata in Knoxville, TN.

Professor Cabeça de Ovo

Greg Suchocki started capoeira in 1999. He has learned from Mestre Acordeon, Mestre Ra, Mestra Suelly, Contramestre Maluco (who ran our school in the early 2000's), Contramestre Avestruz (the founder of this chapter of UCA), among others.He brings a playful element to class, a hard work ethic and excellent music skills.​

Monitor Chiquinho

Justin "Chiquinho" Nunez began his capoeira journey in 2013 as a way to remain connected to Brazilian culture after spending a semester in Rio de Janeiro. In 2015, Justin was offered a job opportunity in Brazil, where he continued training Capoeira. After returning to Albuquerque in 2016, Justin officially became part of Capoeira Girassol and was given his capoeira name "Chiquinho" by Mestre Acordeon. ​

Monitor Gaviao

Benjamin Shendo, "Gaviao", began his Capoeira journey in 2007. In 2012 after graduating from New Mexico State University, he started introducing Capoeira to his community at Jemez and Cochiti Pueblo. Gaviao strives to share all what he has learned from Mestre Acordeon and Mestra Suelly.

Monitor NegoRaca​

Julian Nunez started his journey in capoeira in the late 90's. He has trained with the Cordao de Ouro group for three years before finding UCA in 2015 and since then has been a dedicated and enthusiastic capoeirista. He has been a great supporter of Vamos Vadiar New Mexico where different capoeira schools come together in one great Roda to celebrate and unify the Capoeira Art. 

Monitora Marquesa

Juno Reis started learning about Capoeira in the late 80's in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. She started her formal training in 1992 in Parana, Brasil and practiced and lived Capoeira for 10 years before she left Brasil to study Ayurveda and Yoga therapy in India and in the USA. She found UCA Albuquerque in 2018. Capoeira makes her feel at home and Capoeira Girassol became her family away from Brasil. Juno has a BA in Physical Education and loves music, movement and history.

Monitora Cenoura

Hayley "Cenoura" Pedrick was drawn to capoeira through her fascination with Brazilian history and Portuguese language. She joined UCA Capoeira Girassol in 2014 and loves the depth of instruction, challenge, play and mischief of capoeira! She holds a MA in Latin American studies and is a certified yoga instructor.