About Group Senzala North East

From our humble beginnings in the small town of Peterlee we have now been teaching Capoeira in the North East of England for over 25 years!

Group Senzala North East was founded in 1994 by (now) Mestre Tazmania (Jimi McAvoy), who began practising Capoeira under the guidance of Mestre Gato (one of the founding members from Rio de Janeiro) in 1989.

We now run regular weekly classes in Newcastle upon Tyne, Durham and Seaham.

We have organised many Capoeira workshops and Batizado (grading) events and have been privileged to have hosted many world-renowned Capoeira masters from Brazil, Europe and the UK - these include many of the founding members of the Senzala group such as Mestres Gato, Peixinho, Sorriso, Garrincha and Gil Velho, as well as masters from other groups such as Mestres Suassuna, Marrom, Urubu Malandro, Poncianinho and many other Contra Mestres, Professors and Instructors!

We have also participated in a number of events including the Vamos Festival, as well as providing specialised workshops for local schools, community centres and organisations.

We strongly believe that Capoeira can be an effective tool to enable community engagement and provide people with the opportunity to develop new skills and experiences, self-confidence, fitness and new friendships.

Our classes are led by Mestre Tazmania, Contramestre Caranguejo, Professor Scuzzi, Professor Feliz and Professor Mago. All teachers have travelled to Brazil on a number of occasions to further their training in Capoeira, as well as attending Capoeira events throughout the UK, Europe and North America.

Group Senzala, Rio de Janeiro

Group Senzala’s history begins in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro. Paulo, Rafael and Gilberto Flores, three brothers, originally from Bahia (homeland of Capoeira) had moved to Rio de Janeiro. They began to study Capoeira, during their school vacations, back in Salvador, Bahia. They trained with two of the most famous masters that ever lived, namely Master Bimba and Master Pastinha. Capoeira had become an important part of their lives that they began to train on a regular basis. The brothers held weekly training sessions in their apartment located in the Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro.

In 1964, the first of the now famous masters joined the three brothers in practising Capoeira. That master was Fernando Albuquerque, who was given the Capoeira name Gato. Soon, another joined the group by the name of Claudio Jose Queiroz, followed by his friend Peixinho. Then came Garrincha and Sorriso, following him was Master Gato’s brother Gil. The group was growing. Within two years the now famous mestres had joined and began training at the Laranjeiras. Among the people who joined were, Itamar, Mosquito, Barracha, Sanfona, Bigode, Jimmy, Williamn and Antero.

During 1966, whilst at a demonstration at a German Club, the group introduced themselves as Grupo Senzala.

Originally the group trained according to the teaching’s of Master Bimba but soon began to incorporate influences from Rio de Janeiro but mainly from Bahia. By this time the group was the premier Capoeira group in Rio de Janeiro and one of the most widely known in the whole of Brazil.

The Teachers

Mestre Tazmania

Mestre Tazmania

Jimi McAvoy

Head of Group Senzala North East, Jimi McAvoy has been practising Capoeira since 1989 under the guidance of Mestre Gato - one of the founding members of the Senzala group in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Contramestre Caranguejo

Contramestre Caranguejo

Peter Grufferty

One of Mestre Tazmania’s first students, Peter has been playing Capoeira since 1994. As well as supporting the classes in Newcastle, Peter has run classes in Durham and Middlesbrough and now teaches the class in Seaham

Professor Scuzzi

Professor Scuzzi

Rob Curry

Since he began training Capoeira with Mestre Tazmania in 1998, Rob has dedicated his life to the practise and promotion of Capoeira. Travelling to Brazil, America and Europe to learn from world renowed Mestres.

Professor Mago

Professor Mago

Will McKenzie

Will has been training Capoeira since 2003 and has travelled to events in Brazil and Europe, as well as several across the UK, to learn from different teachers from various styles of Capoeira. Will runs the class in Brancepeth under the guidance of Mestre Tazmania.

Instrutora Borbaleta

Instrutora Borbaleta

Sandra Grufferty

Sandra came into Capoeira from a dance background in 1998 and has been fortunate enough to travel to Rio twice and Paris on courses, training with many influential masters.

Graduation System