Leadership Team

Almiro Aquilino dos Santos

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BBAC Founder & Master teacher of Capoeira Regional 

Almiro is a master of Capoeira Regional. In 1983, he received his Mestre certification at the Academia do Bimba- the first recognized Capoeira school in Brazil and the heart of Capoeira Regional- in his hometown of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. He headed the school until 1986 when he was invited to come to the United States to teach Capoeira and related music courses at Portland State University (PSU) in Portland, Oregon. Portland welcomed Almiro and the exciting new art he brought with him. He fell in love with the city, as well, and decided to emigrate, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1994.

Shortly after his arrival in the summer of 1986, he presented three master classes at local high schools and performed on 15 separate occasions at local community events. Mestre Almiro has also been a participant in the Portland Public Schools Neighborhood Arts Program, sponsored by the Regional Arts and Cultural Commission (RACC) who provide education and cultural enhancement programs to secondary school audiences.

Over the past two decades Mestre Almiro has given or participated in many Capoeira workshops in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Eugene, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Vancouver BC. He has also organized cultural exchange trips to Brazil for his students and others interested in observing or taking Capoeira classes in his native city of Salvador, Bahia and learning about Bahian culture and history.

In 2004, Mestre Almiro founded the Bahia Brazil Art Center (formerly the Cultural Awareness Foundation), a non-profit organization, as a means to share Brazilian culture with the citizens of Portland through movement, music and art. Almiro had a greater vision of making an impact on the welfare and education of youth here in Portland and in Salvador, just as he had experienced through educational projects as a youth. He also recognized the need in all communities for intercultural understanding and interaction, particularly in this modern era, as well as providing basic skills and motivation to become "prestativo" (versatile/flexible/capable) and develop oneself as a valuable, contributing, discerning member of society.  

As the founder and executive director of the Bahia Brazil Art Center, Almiro continues to provide leadership and hands-on management of the BBAC and its cultural exchange programs designed to bring Brazilian culture and art from the country of his birth to the U.S.Almiro currently teaches Brazilian arts classes related to Capoeira Regional at the Bahia Brazil Art Center. These ongoing classes are open to the general public and include training in martial arts, musical instruments, dance and song. 

Valdizia Aquilina dos Santos

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Vice President & Artistic Director

Valdizia is head of BBAC operations in Bahia, Brazil and is the sister of Mestre Almiro. Valdizia had her frist experience with expression through movement at the age of seven. She has since pursued a life of expression through dance. Currently, Valdizia has a degree in dance and choreography, but is pursuing further education in both areas. She has also utilized both practical and theoretical research as well as simple, truthful observations as a means to acquire knowledge about the culture of Bahia and Brazil.

Valdizia's teaching methods are intended to awaken interest in corporeal movement through the symbolism of the Orixas. Her style incorporates a stylized vision through music. The objectives of her classes are to provide training for students ranging from beginner dance levels up to advanced. Her students work their mind, body and spirit.    

Today, Valdizia's goals have become a reality through the BBAC. The Brasiba Performance Group, created by Valdizia and administered by Mestre Almiro, has begun to share the culture and traditions of Bahia and Brazil with Portland. If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service. a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.

Ro Jane Prideaux

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Teacher of Capoeira Regional Hawai'i
www.CapoeiraRegionalHawaii.com Website manager for the BBAC
Ro lives in HPP on the Big Island of Hawai'i and works as an Art Teacher at Pahoa High & Intermediate School.  At age 19 she obtained her first degree black belt in Traditional Taekwon Do, later discovering Capoeira while studying in Japan (where there is a large Brazilian population) and began training with Mestre Almiro in 2008 in her hometown of Portland, Oregon.
During high school, Ro spent a year in Argentina as an exchange student, and has lived and worked with immigrant and refugee communities ever since, focusing on the arts, education, and social justice. She is a potter, a singer/songwriter and enjoys Brazilian and Cuban dance. You can find her artwork at Kilauea Pottery in downtown Hilo. Ask about local dance events!

Pete Mallord

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Pete started training with Mestre Almiro in September 2008 to reconnect with community within a vibrant and expressive culture. In the process he continues to discover the beautiful art form of Capoeira Regional. Pete is inspired by the transformational potential within Capoeira and the richness of its heritage as expressed through our Mestre. Pete serves the BBAC as a Board Member and Director since 2009 and is committed to helping the organization illuminate Portland communities and enrich peoples’ lives. Axé Mestre Almiro and Axé Bahia Brazil Art Center!

Eli Green

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Board Member

Justin Levi, LAc

Co-leader of trips to Brazil

Co-leader of trips to Brazil
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