Mestre Amen Santo was born and raised in Bahia, Brazil where he began mastery of Capoeira and other Afro-Brazilian art forms including Candomble, Samba, and Maculele. He began his artistic career under the guidance of Mestre Waldemar and Mestre Avila in Liberdade, Bahia, Brazil. Later, he was mentored as a performer by Negão de Doni (percussion) and Emilia Biancardi (dance) and toured internationally as a member of Brazil’s historic premiere folk ensemble Viva Bahia. In 1989, he founded the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center that serves as the home base for a professional touring ensemble (Ballet Folclòrico do Brasil) and the internationally renown Capoeira Batuque academy. Mestre Amen helped bring capoeira to a worldwide audience through his performance and choreography in feature films including “Only the Strong” and “Kickboxer IV.” He has used dance and music as a platform for promoting intercultural communication, the valorization of Latin American diversity, and the African Diaspora. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work including being inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, honored as a pioneer by the World Sokeship Council, and given the title of Ogan in the Candomble religious tradition. Mestre Amen and Capoeira Batuque now celebrate over 20 years as Southern California's longest standing Capoeira Academy.