The Samba Schools originated in the poorer districts of Rio de Janeiro. With a big african influence coming from the ex-slaves. They take their name from their community and are made up primarily of residents of that community. THIS IS MORE OR LESS HOW A SAMBA SCHOOL START.
Each school is the bond, almost like a tribe, that unifies the people of that community. It is where people learn the samba, widely considered to be Brazil's National Dance, as well as the dances for Carnival and other competitions leading up to it. The school's successes are a matter of pride, with people working very hard all year long for the chance to compete in Carnival.
But do not think of a “school” as the words means...think about “school” like na association...like a club, like a team.
Each year the government, companies and independent businessmen give each samba school money to prepare their Carnival. For the last one (2009) they gave three million reals for these services. This is the seed money. Beginning right after Carnival ends, plans begin for the next year's performance. More money is raised as each school develops a theme and finds sponsors. Music is commissioned and compiled, routines are choreographed, and the performance is rehearsed and refined throughout the year by the school participants.
IT IS A VERY INTERESTING INDUSTRY!!! :) Lots of money involved...and the communities get a lot of benefits. Lots of social works happen in many different poor communities of Rio.
Samba School is big business. Each of the colorful and elaborate costumes is hand made. Thousands of people are employed building props, sewing costumes and coordinating hundreds of dancers. The production is huge! The largest Samba Schools can have around 4,500 people, including hundreds of drummers or "bateria" performing.
THOUGH BATERIA IS THE HEART OF A SAMBA SCHOOL!!! :)
Throughout the year, the youth receive guidance from their elders as each generation incorporates the next in the annual competition. In effect, each Samba School is a youth program, an employment agency and the identifying force for the community. Your Samba School is your family. Samba is in the blood of many people here and no matter how big you are, if you are poor or rich, you will always have one samba school in your heart!!!
There are Twelve Samba Schools in the top division. Over one weekend of Carnival they compete. Six can place. One wins. The first weekend they all compete, with the top six performing the next day.
The competition takes place in front of steep high concrete bleachers, divided into 16 sections, that stretch for 800 meters. This place is called SAMBODROMO
The best access to Sambódromo is using public transportation and our Metro is the best way to be used. The area is safe, there are very efficient signs telling you how to reach the sectors that you bought the tickets.
The only thing that I need you to pay attention, once you are outside of Central Station you will need to cross a large avenue, this is PRESIDENTE VARGAS AVENUE, just cross the avenue far from the zebra crossing...do it close to the cars which are coming from the different direction...the crowd that cross the zebra can be very risky to your pockets. No panic, you just need to be aware!
It is hard to find words to explain how our samba school works...it is a tradition of more than a 100 years, but now we do have a modern structure and hardly any problems occur.
THIS CARNAVAL I AM OFF TO ARGENTINA TO WELCOME A CANADIAN GROUP, FRIENDS FROM ONTARIO AND IT IS PART OF MY WORK GUIDING IN OTHER PLACES IN SOUTH AMERICA. But my crew will stay here to give you such a great time!!!
ALL THE BEST AND HAPPY TRAVELS,
Rafael Torres Lopes
Tour Guide and Travel Planner
A FRIEND OF SAMBA