When you think of Carnaval in Rio the first thing that has to come to mind is the parade or Desfiles as it is known locally. Although there are many other aspects to Carnaval, Desfiles is the celebration of the history Brazil representing the culture beginning and the breaking of ties with colonialism and slavery. When you arrive as a participant with an Escola you blended with a mix of colorful and elaborate costumes that can span hundreds of people all combining to tell one story. As a participant we arrived three hours before our official walk time to make sure your Fantasia fits correctly and to warm up, it is key to stretch as you will be dancing and singing for an hour. As you begin to meet the people in your Escola and see the the elaborate floats come together you can’t see but can hear the energy of the people filling the stands in the Sambadrone. A few last minute adjustments to make sure you walk together and a firework display lights up the sky to start the walk. At this point your excitement is at peak as the music beckons everyone to dance. Upon reaching the turn into the Sambadrone the bright lights and thousands of people in the stands fill you with a nervous energy that can only be overcome with a full embrace of the song and dance. The feeling of the spotlight has to resemble that of an artist playing at Madison Square Garden or a futbol player running onto the pitch for the World Cup. It is truly a feeling of being alive. After about 30min of dancing way too fast my legs had turned to jello but the cheers from the crowd and fellow dancers pulled me through. By the end of the Sambadrone I felt like I had ran a marathon and it is at this moment that I am so thankful for the hustle of all the vendors selling things as the water and food will be brought right to you reviving you from the catatonic trance of the Sambadrone. The beautiful costumes, elaborate dances and huge crowds bring an experience that cannot be fully understood unless it is lived! If you are going to Carnaval it is a must to experience, drop your ego and let the Sambadrone take you!
Kashton Foley, Canada
Seeing Carnival in Rio is a great experience. But marching at the sambadrome with a local samba school is a lifetime experience! Our students were really happy to be part of this great event and didn’t feel ant nervous or pressured to do it. After some last adjustments they were ready to go and dance their way through the samba avennue. A true lifetime experience!
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