Most of us don't need Webster's or the Oxford dictionary to define "home." For some of us it's the place where we were born or where our family lives. For others, it's the community that we have chosen to be a part of.
Oakland has been the home of Capoeira Mandinga for almost thirty years. When Mestre Marcelo started teaching classes at the original Caribee Dance Center, capoeira was almost completely unknown in the US. Today the uniforms, movements and instruments are widely recognized even by people who have never trained it.
Over the past two decades we have offered classes throughout the SF Bay area, from Berkeley and San Francisco to Marin County and Santa Rosa. But Oakland has always been our home base, the center from which we have shared our knowledge of Brazilian arts and culture.
Approximately ten years ago we opened our first capoeira academy in a former yoga studio on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. It was an almost perfect location and we thrived there. It really felt like we were home. Having a fixed location really made a difference in our cohesion as an organization and enabled us to both increase our student enrollment and to expand our outreach to the community.
In 2009, after extensive negotiations and a lot of hard work, we were able to move into our present location on Piedmont Ave. This new, larger space has allowed us to offer even more classes and activities including Kindergym, Afro-Brazilian dance, Portuguese classes, acrobatics, drumming, a capoeira women's event and the list goes on. We believe that we are a vital force that brings a lot of positive energy to the community.
Due to recent complaints about noise from our academy, the city of Oakland has shortened our evening hours so that we cannot offer classes after 8 pm. Since most of our students work during the day, this will severely limit their ability to train. A major drop in our enrollment would mean that we could no longer afford to stay in our current home.
On July 17 we will be asking the City Planning Commission to extend our hours of operation until 9:30 pm daily. If you have ever been to an event at our academy and think that our appeal is reasonable, please support us. It would be great if you could attend the Planning Commission meeting (6 pm at Oakland City Hall) but whether or not you attend, please email case manager David Valeska (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express your support.