Portuguese Language Blog

Rio De Janeiro Samba Schools Posted by on Mar 6, 2011 in Culture, Holidays

Já é Carnaval! Recently, we learned about Carnival in São Paulo and Minas Gerais, and we’ve learned about Carnival in Rio and Recife before. Today begins Rio de Janeiro’s samba school competition, when the city’s top twelve schools compete against each other at the Sambodrome. A samba school is a group that develops original songs, dances, costumes, and floats each year to compete for the title of best school.

During the competition, samba schools are judged based on a number of factors, including costumes, floats, dancers, and staying within the allotted period of time. They are given points from a panel of judges, which determine if they stay in the Special Group the following year. This year, the twelve qualifying samba schools are São Clemente, Imperatriz Leopoldinense, Portela, Unidos da Tijuca, Vila Isabel, Mangueira, União da Ilha, Salgueiro, Mocidade, Grande Rio, Porto da Pedra, and Beija-Flor. Last year, Unidos da Tijuca won, for the first time since 1936. Every year, the lowest two scoring schools get moved down to the lower classified group of samba schools, and the two highest scoring schools in the lower group get moved up to the “Special” group to compete with the top schools. Each year, the samba school picks a different theme, which can be pretty much anything: a city, a country, a time period, movies, famous people, you name it. You can see what the themes are for each group this year clicking here.

To preview and listen to some of the samba school’s samba-enredos (samba songs) for this year, take a look below:




Want to watch the Carnival parade? You can watch live on Globo online. Check G1’s Carnaval 2011 page tonight and tomorrow night to watch live.

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