Mauricio Campos – Contramestre Gringo – was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he made a name for himself as an internationally recognized professional skateboarder. Upon moving to the US in 1990, Mauricio began training kung-fu. After years of working with this discipline, a friend invited him to a Capoeira class while visiting Sao Paulo. Inspired by the distinct combination of music, fighting, acrobatics, and dance, he began seriously training in Capoeira in 1997 with Mestre Dantas.
He began training under Mestre Jelon Vieira, founder of DanceBrazil and pioneer of Capoeira in the US, in 1999. In 2001, he established the Brazilian Arts Foundation as a non-profit organization under the IRS 501(c)3 code. The goal in creating a cultural center was to share his love for Brazilian culture and the unique energy of its traditions, dances, and music. Mauricio’s focus in teaching is to create an experience that reflects the joy, passion, and playfulness of life, using movement and music to connect – and ultimately free – the body, mind, and soul.
He offers a challenging but playful instruction style that stems from his belief in making each moment the absolute best. Mauricio’s role as artistic director includes developing and choreographing performances, guiding the creative vision of the organization, and training the Capoeiristas, dancers, and musicians. Under his direction, the organization has increased its performance schedule and range every year.
In 2006, Mayor Bill White decreed November 6 as Mauricio Campos Day, and in 2009, September 5 became recognized as Brazilian Arts Foundation Day in the city of Houston.
In September 2017, Mauricio received his latest graduation level and corda, going from Professor to Contramestre.