I can’t believe I almost forgot about Contra-Mestra (or Mestranda) Marisa Cordeiro, considering she was the other woman interviewed in the documentary I saw, and so part of the inspiration for this post series. I know it’s been a while, but better late than never, right? Thanks again to Mike for reminding me about her!
Marisa Cordeiro was born in Curvelo, Brazil, and began training with Capoeira Cordão de Ouro in 1985. She was a lucky pupil of renowned Mestre Suassuna, as well as of his students Mestres Cangaru Domingo, Flavino Tucano, and Urubu Malandro.
The talented Marisa soon joined Oba Oba, a Brazilian performance group that held shows around Latin America and the United States. Two years after performing in the U.S. for the first time, Marisa returned to Chicago and founded the city’s first capoeira school, Gingarte Capoeira, in 1991.
Eight years later, she received her Contra-Mestra’s corda from Cordão de Ouro. Today, Gingarte Capoeira has grown since its fledgling days at the University of Chicago, and Contra-Mestra Marisa Cordeiro is known as one of the highest ranking female capoeiristas in the United States.
P.S. I could only find one video of Marisa Cordeiro playing, but I had to agree with one of the commentators that she didn’t really seem to play like someone at her given rank. She also seemed to split off from her teachers’ school a lot sooner than any of the other mestras/contra-mestras I’ve featured, and I can’t help wondering if this might have been detrimental to her in the long run?