Jefferson Award Winner Founded Abada CapoeiraBy Allen Martin

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) Capoeira is a combination of many things.

“It’s art form that incorporates every art possible,” explained Marcia Treidler. “It’s a martial art. It’s acrobatics. It’s dance. It’s music.”

And Treidler is one of the best at teaching it – so good in fact, she’s the first woman to hold the title of Mestra Cigarra.

Capoeira orginated in Tredler’s native Brazil. Slaves from Africa mingled with Portuguese who had colonized the country.

“They allowed the slaves after hours to practice their music, drumming, singing, dance,” said Treidler. “So they found this amazing way to preserve the culture and create this art form that today is respected all over the world.”

Treidler has been teaching for 35 years, the past 25 at her non-profit studio Abada Capoeira in San Francisco’s Mission District. In order to teach more than 20,000 students each year, she and her volunteers also take classes into schools all over the Bay Area.

“We’re all over the place,” she said. “We go all the way to San Jose, Santa Clara, we go to Oakland, we go to Berkeley. So we have also a performance group who go to the schools and do that type of work.”

Alazan Flores was not quite three years old when she was introduced to capoeira this way.

“My mom was there. And she said, ‘You know what? Here is strong women, good examples, I want my daughter to hang out around them,'” Flores recalled.

Twenty years later, Flores is now one of Treidler’s teachers.

So is Elias Gonzalez.

“I was doing all the different martial arts and I just wanted to try something different,” he said.

Both he and Flores say Treidler is more than a teacher.

“(She’s) a mentor that a lot of teenagers like myself at that time needed. We needed somebody to look up (to) and she has been that. And not only here in capoeira but also in everday life.”

And while Treidler’s teaching will one day come to an end, she says capoeira will not.

“Forever really, you know. I’m not going to continue forever but the organization itself I hope will continue forever.”

So for her decades of teaching and preserving the art form of capoeira, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Marcia Treidler.

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