The famous event Samba School Parade is watched every year live by millions of TV spectators. The lavish costumes of thousands of dancers and drummers, explosion of colors and fantasy shapes of moving platforms are the symbols of vital life force in South and Central America.
This article will help you to look what is beyond the glittering image of frenetic samba dance.
For the whole year the samba schools plan and work on their final performance.
In September start the serious rehearsals, when the groups memorize the words and practice dance moves.
If you are in Rio not during the Carnival, the rehearsals are good thing to experience the phenomenon of dance in Brazil.
And if you are the happy one, who stays there at this very time, you can consider joining one of the schools and became the part of Carnival yourself.
The money for selling the costumes help the school to mantain the living, and you will add to the total number of performing dancers, which rises chances of the school to win the competitions.
Sambodromo is a 1.5km-long (1-mile) concrete parade ground built in the center of Rio just for the Carnival parades.
A week before Carnival Sambodromo is open for trial performances, later the surrounding streets are closed to car traffic, the stage and the tribunes for 60,000 of spectators finally prepared.
Hundreds of food and drink shops are opened in neighbourhood and the temperature starts to rise.
Samba School Parade
The main parade takes place in the first Sunday and Monday of Carnival. 14 carefully selected best samba schools have the priviledge to compete in front of the spectators on tribunes and millons in front of TV set all over the world. The tickets to the parade you can book in advance in a local travel agency, or buy at the hotel.
On the last Saturday of Carnival the winners of Sambodromo competition dance there again, and this is also a good opportunity to see the parade, with less spectators.
Blocks and Balls
You can see the dances not only during Sambodromo parades, bu on almost every street in Rio during Carnival.
The less formal groups, local communities join in the forms called Blocks ( blocos ) even some time before the Carnval.
They dance together, with families, tourists and passers by.
The balls ( bailes) were organized for upper class not to be mixed with the crowds, some of the balls still mantain the elite status, while most of them held in the hotels sell the tickets to everybody.
Read more about the tours in Rio de Janeiro.
[photo courtesy of Emma Williamson]