The Carnival Parade at the Sambadrome (Samba Stadium) is the biggest and most glamorous show in the world. It is an event where the city’s numerous Samba schools vie for the position of Grand Champion. They are judged on their performance in a number of categories. The preparation for the Samba Parades starts with an anticipation of months. Every school is integrated of thousand of paraders, specially from the community which the school is stated, creating sections and wings that compose the school. First, the year samba song is elected in a contest that lasts a few months at the Samba Schools, while the Carnival Designer creates the costumes and floats. When everything is determined, the called prototypes are sent to the production line. In December, the rehearsals begin. In half December, the sambas de enredo (the year samba songs of every school) are recorded and sold at the stores.
The Rio de Janeiro Samba Parades are not like a street event, where people move however they want, instead, they are highly choreographed shows with huge proportions. Every parader has a specific role and place according to the costume in a special wing, in a special section that helps to reveal the school’s theme at the Avenue.
Every year, each school choose a different theme to the parade. It can be a celebration, a historical event or famous characters of Brazilian history, a special event, a place or anything that moves the audience’s immagination: a special animal, or one of the elements like water or fire. The School has to develop and remain in the chosen theme during its parade.
The Year Samba Songs are specially written for the parade year, according to the theme.
Every one of the floats and the Costumes of the Paraders (which may vary from 3.000 to 5.000) are richly decorated, revealing every detail thought by the Carnival Designer to the audience and the judges.
The costumes have a fantastic imaginary included, so, they are full of details and colors. They are true masterpieces, concepted out of nothing every year. They have mirrors, feathers, metallic fabric, silk and some of them may have jewels or coins. These costumes take months to be made. This work begins about eight months before Carnival.
Every school has its own colors (the flag colors) and costumes’ style. The colour pallete is reflected in many parts of the parade.
The most ellaborate costumes are worn by the parade’s highlights. They are selected members with the honor to wear these special costumes.
Even though full nudity is not allowed, sometimes the floats have people with quite few clothes or almost none. Men and women are there, wearing only body painting and lots of glow and a smile.
You can thing about this event like a big opera, or many operas, because there are many different themes in one night. Is a gorgeous concert, that will blow your mind and memories.
Blocos are groups of individuals who plan street parties during the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Their parties are much more casual than the parades in the Sambadrome stadium. Each Bloco writes a theme song and has a band to play the Samba music. These groups gather in their local hangouts and play percussion music well into the early hours of the morning. The Blocos are considered the heart and soul of Rio Carnival and there are Blocos popular with singles, others that hold parties suitable for families and still other Blocos that are popular with gays.
History of the Bloco
In the late 1800s Cordoes were formed. These Cordoes were groups of people that organized parades throughout the city. Many of the groups played instruments and choreographed dances. As the Cordoes progressed they began to form bands in relation to their neighborhoods. These groups were the precursor of the Blocos. As a result they earned the name of Blocos.
Today the Blocos form their parades in specific neighborhoods. Each Bloco consists of a musical band and a group of partiers. The Blocos organize and run block parties during the year. The parades start as early as January and then run through the Sunday after the Carnival. While the Blocos parade in just about every neighborhood, the most popular neighborhoods for these parties are Copacabana, Leblon, Ipanema, Jardim Botanico and Lagoa as well as downtown. Many of these Blocos write their own theme songs and add classic samba songs to their repertoire.
If a Bloco has brass instruments in their band they are called Bandas or Bands. When it is time for the parade the Blocos will rent a truck and the guitar players and singers ride on the truck playing their music. Most of the time the Blocos play samba but Bandas can play Marchinhas, a polka like music. Prior to the addition of samba to the Blocos parades Marchinhas was the only music played.
The largest Bloco is Cordao do Bola Preta and over 200,000 people will attend their street party. Simpatia e Quase Amor draws about 100,000 people to its celebration. Monobloco holds their party on Copacabana Beach and up to 80,000 revelers attends this Carnival party. These larger parties are held on Avenida Rio Branco, one of the largest streets in Rio and there is no other place that can accommodate such large parties. Spectators are invited to join in or if you prefer, watch from the stands that line the avenue.
The Carmelitas bloco host their parades in the district of Santa Teresa. The Carmelitas dress as nuns during their parties. Their parade tells the tale of a nun who escaped her convent to celebrate the Carnival.