Mestre Cigano

Robson A.V. Ribeiro (03/27/62) is a native Brazilian, born in the Botafogo district of Rio de Janeiro. He was first introduced to Capoeira in 1972 in Bahia at a roda overseen by his first Mestre, Pedrinho Fio do Ouro. Cigano went on to study with several other Mestres, graduating to Mestre at the age of 21 from Mestre Sardi of Rio. While in Rio de Janeiro,he worked with and taught the omnipresent street children from the Favelas (slums) of the city. He worked in conjunction with Centro Arquediocese of Rio de Janeiro, forming courses of social integration, using Capoeira masters. He founded Grupo Liberdade de Capoeira in 1987 and emigrated to the USA the following year.

In 1996, Mestre Cigano opened the New Jersey Capoeira Arts Center, in the East Ward of Newark, NJ. He has dedicated himself to teaching students of all ages and backgrounds, not only the fundamentals of capoeira, but his philosophy of respect and integrity. Although he returned to Brazil in late 2008 to Porto Seguro, his influence is evident to the enormous success of capoeira in New Jersey.

Our Story

Today, Grupo Liberdade has aspiring students at various levels of proficiency in this complex art. The Group performs for private and public organizations, showing the joyous nature of the Brazilian spirit. The group comprises of a diverse number of individuals who share a common heart. They are musically and physically competent, with vitality and genuine desire to learn.

Meet the Team

Grupo Liberdade De Capoeira's teaching staff comes from a wide of array of backgrounds. One thing we share in common is our passion for the art. We are teachers, artists, dancers, musicians, warriors, and above all students.


Professora Amazonas

Curriculum and Program Director

Union, New Jersey

serves as the Curriculum Developer of for the Afro Brazilian Arts & Education Academy as well as the Artistic Director for Grupo Liberdade de Capoeira, the first capoeira group formed in New Jersey. Upholding the flag and legacy built by her teacher, Mestre Cigano (Robson Ribeiro), she works tirelessly with her business partner Profesor Macaco (Saman Dashti) to provide quality engaging workshops for adults and at risk youth.

As a youth growing up in Queens, New York, she trained Jujitsu and Judo. Track and Field brought her to New Jersey, where she competed and coached for Seton Hall U., NJ City U. and St. Peter’s College. Instrutora Amazonas spent many formative years studying with Profesor Esperanca (Carlos Walter) as well as completed seminar for Teaching Artist Training, directed by Mestre Ombrinho (Michael Goldstein), the first American born Capoeira master. She combines all of her experiences in her various disciplines to encourage others to take a trip through the African Diaspora in her workshops offered under Arts for Kids, LLC and Capoeira Programs, LLC for the past 4 years. She has taught workshops and studied Capoeira philosophy, movement and song in various cities in the United States as well as Mexico and Brazil. Concurrently, she teaches mathematics in the Newark Public Schools system, and is a dedicated teaching artist and performer in several West African dance and drum companies.


Professor Macaco

Curriculum and Program Director

Charlottesville, Virginia

Saman Dashti was born in Manhattan and raised in Jamaica Queens. In California in 1995, he witnessed a street performance that he later find out was Capoeira. He found a school and started training Capoeira with Mestre Acordeon.

Saman moved to New Jersey in 1997 and joined Grupo Liberdade de Capoeira. He teaches capoeira classes in the Newark YMCA and Grace Community and works as a teaching artist in the public schools.

He is currently teaching capoeira in Charlottesville, VA.


Instructor Viajante

Curriculum and Program Director

Las Vegas, Nevada

Adam Kaswiner has trained extensively his entire life. Tae Kwon Do as a kid, Wrestling in high school and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in college. Yoga & Pilates in Atlanta, India, and Hawaii. His capoeira nickname is traveler, with eight years of Capoeira in Amsterdam, Brazil, New Jersey, and Las Vegas.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Adam moved to Las Vegas and has been teaching capoeira for several years.

Next Steps...

Call (347) 228-5593 for your first class!
Umoja Dance Studio
2120 Springfield Avenue
Vauxhall, NJ