Originally from Jundiaí, São Paulo, Brazil, Denis Chiaramonte has more than 25 years of experience, starting capoeira in June 1988, and has trained with a series of esteemed Brazilian masters. In 1998, he became a student of Mestre (Master) Reinaldo Ramos Suassuna, and is now a student of Senhor Joao, Mestre que da licao. In April 2013 Denis was accepted by Mestre Joao Grande to be part of the Capoeira Angola Center of Mestre Joao Grande and is honored to have established the Capoeira Angola Center Champaign-Illinois. Mestre João Grande was born on January 15th 1933, was a direct student of the legendary Mestre Pastinha, and has dedicated more than 60 years to Capoeira Angola. He is one of the most respected and recognized Mestres of all time in the world. He teaches Capoeira in the African way, as a philosophy and a way of life, respecting the roots, history and tradition.
In 2003 Denis was invited to lead the Capoeira Club in Champaign. Since his arrival in the United States Denis has taught workshops across the United States and in France, Israel, England, Japan, and Mexico. He currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana’s Dance Department capoeira, as visiting lecturer since 2004. He is also the RSO facility advisor for the UIUC Capoeira Club, which has hosted several International Capoeira Conferences at the University of Illinois at Urbana, bringing teachers and students from around the globe.
Under the tutelage of Mestre Suassuna, Contra-Mestre Denis perfected his game and traveled throughout Brazil and to Israel to give workshops. In 2003 he was invited to lead the Cordão de Ouro group in Champaign, and received his Professor rank. In 2004 he graduated to Contra-Mestre, one rank below Mestre.
In Urbana-Champaign and at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, Denis teaches capoeira classes for both beginners and advanced students, for children and adults. In the Fall of 2004, Denis was invited to teach a capoeira class to graduate and undergrad students at the University of Illinois's Dance Department and returns every year to teach as a visiting lecturer. Denis is not only an expert in capoeira but also in various other dances and arts associated with capoeira, such as Afro-Brazilian dances, Maculelé, Puxada de Rede, and Samba. Students of Denis learn not only the movements of the game, but how to play the instruments used during the game, and how to sing the songs (which involves learning some Portuguese), as well as the history and culture of Brazil.