We watch the Carnival on TV and follow the scoring and commentary like it were big league sports, the entire country talks about the competition and each day there are highlights on TV. The dancing keeps on going each night until Fat Tuesday (today). Then tomorrow the judges scores will be revealed to the huge and very anxious crowds, as they wait with their 4,000+ team members to know if they won. The winning team dances once more, down the 1 hour long Sambadrome to the roaring crowds in Rio de Janeiro.
Paula and I love to watch the proceedings from the comfort of our home. Nearly every channel has coverage of the Rio Carnaval, each with a different spin on the proceedings, some with reported coverage of the Carnivals taking place in other parts of Brazil such as Bahia, the events in Bahia are as old as in Rio, and almost as popular, also Sao Paulo celebrates 10 years of the hosting it’s own Carnival
The biggest dance schools in Rio de Janeiro have long traditions of organizing incredible performances, each of which lasts 1 hour and syncronize as many as 4,000 costumed dancers separated by as many as 8 huge floats, which can have 30 dancers on each. The schools have a theme and a newly written song to interpret thier theme. The main component of the presentation is the big battery of drummers that retain the fast pace BPM (beats per minute) which is often measured on the TV coverage to provide statistics. The presentation is divided into Ala’s, like scenes in a play, each has unique costume to illustrate another aspect of the theme, there may be 40 Ala’s to the presentation all choreographed. Some of the costumes are very elaborate but made of light weight plastics and colorful cloth, along with the dancers there are coaches who help to keep the timing and organization because a school is penalized if they’re 1 minute longer than an hour completing thier parade of the SambaDrome.
The most important component of each Samba school’s presentation is the beautiful dancing women. In front of each is the Porta Bandiera escorted by the best costimed man, as she carries the flag for the schools and wears a mask and the most elaborate gown or dress like a Princess, they twirl and spin, showing off the flag and introducing the dancers. Somewhere in the middle of the parade will be the main float atop of which will be the Queen of the Samba School, often a celebrity or famous model/dancer and always nearly naked and dancing Samba as fast and as well as it can be danced. It’s a great honor of Brazil to be the Queen of the Samba School and the winner of the entire Carnival will become famous for lfe as a result.
Paula and I agree that some day we’ll join the celebration in Rio, she’s been once before but not without having every detail organized and a good vantage point to watch the parade from. There are so many package deals offered to purchase tickets for box seats or general admission in one of the suites that overlook the street inside the SambaDrome. The big issue is getting to and from your apartment or hotel because the city is absolutely mobbed with visitors. You don’t want to arrive in Rio and leave anything to chance, it’s got to be well planned since the city is over-full.
It’s definitely the nicest time to be living in Sao Paulo, since Carnival is celebrated right in the middle of summer and the weather is usually perfect but also because half the populace has left the city for the beaches and the other half that stay’s are working for us 8 % that hold all the cards (Visa and Mastercard). The city is empty, you can drive where you want, when you want, only gas, bars, grocery, malls, movies and restaurants are open, everything else is shut down. This is the most official holiday of the entire year, it’s mandatory to pay all workers but nobody works. The beaches, thousands of them, are hosting tens of millions of revellers.