Best of Phoenix

Super Moves: Jay Camara Spain

If you get a chance to see Axé Capoeira Arizona perform, take it. Because there's no way to do this group — or its art form — justice with words. Capoeira is described as a Brazilian-Afro art form, incorporating movement, music, and culture. See? Hard to get a visual. Another way to describe capoeira is as a conversation between two people — yeah, a little chat using acrobatics that put Cirque du Soleil to shame and martial arts kicks and chops (don't worry, there's no real physical contact) that make cage fighting look tame. We know little girls who have fallen in love, watching these bodies in motion. And big girls, too. Jay Camara Spain, leader of the first capoeira troupe in Arizona, offers classes for adults and kids, and Axé Capoeira performs around town (go to for details). He describes the essence of capoeira this way: "Capoeira is like life. Life sometimes is not fair, sometimes good, sometimes bad. The way you move is the way you think; the way you think is the way you move. So goes life." Like we said, you gotta see it for yourself.

I arrived in Phoenix in 1998.

When I’m stuck in traffic, I listen to my Sirius car radio, tuned to jazz.

I never forget to TiVo Suns basketball.

One thing my mother doesn’t know about me is that I flew into the Grand Canyon.

On Saturday night, you can find me at home relaxing and rejuvenating.

My favorite thing about summer in Phoenix is the monsoons.

The one dessert I refuse to eat is peaches.

If I was mayor of Phoenix, I’d create a youth leadership center for teens at risk.

In high school, I was the kid who excelled at sports.

In another life, I was an Egyptian leader.

The fictional character I’m most like is Superman.

The best thing about Phoenix is the desert nights.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at