The Samba Parades

The Samba Parade Types, From The Children's Parade And Access Group To The Champion's Parade And Special Groups.

It isn't hard to establish that the Samba Parade at the Sambadrome during the Rio Carnival is the most spectacular event. Once King Momo begins to samba, everyone follows suit, and with the intention of making the most of the five day celebrations. The event is a combination of competition and camaraderie where emotions run high and all that everyone can think of is partying.

The top twelve samba schools put up the most grandiose show on Carnival Sunday and Monday at the Sambadrome, preceded by the Access Group on Carnival Saturday. The Samba Parades are an explosion of color, rhythm and dance, happiness, and much more. It is a time where people let their hair down and transform themselves into whatever they desire. The best thing is there is no distinction between race and status. Everyone has the same objective, which is to enjoy the Carnival.

Types of Samba Parades

All eyes are on the Samba Parades at the Sambadrome during carnival time. Each year the parade begins with the Access Group, Special Group and the children's parade. Every samba school puts up a unique performance with different samba themes choreographed to perfection.

The Access Group

The Access Group, are samba schools that perform on Friday March 01st and Saturday March 02nd, 2019. Samba schools contend for the top position and a place in the Special Group for the next year's competition. Performances begin at 9 pm and continue until the wee hours of the next morning. Although these schools do not have the same sponsorship as schools from the Special Group, they do have a large following and are as meticulous and exquisite in their performances.

The Special Group

Carnival Sunday and Monday are the highlight of the carnival with the Special Group putting up the most magnificent spectacle that is watched by millions around the world. Six of the top samba schools parade on Sunday while the other six parade on carnival Monday for the championship title. The opening ceremonies on both February 11th and 13th begin at 8 pm followed by the performances at 9 pm. Brazil's celebrities join in the celebrations in support of their favorite samba school. Tickets for these events sell out way in advance. This is the time to watch popular samba schools like Salgueiro, Mangueira, and Mocidade at their best.

Escolas de samba Mirins – The Children's Parade

Children display their talent at the Sambadrome on Tuesday February 28th, 2019 from 5 PM. Entry is free to the Sambadrome on this night but you can expect an incredible extravaganza nothing short of the main event. The children's parade has all the ingredients of the top samba schools with costumes, floats, and samba dancers that match up to the best from the top samba schools. The entire spectacle is organized by the children under adult supervision. More than 2000 children participate in the event, which is a spectacle worth watching. The best way to pay tribute to these kids is to join them at the Sambadrome

The Champion's Parade

While every samba school put in their best performances, only one can be crowned champion, a title is very special to every school. When the results are out on Ash Wednesday, the top six samba schools have one more chance to reaffirm their position with a final showdown at the Sambadrome on Saturday 09th Mar 2019. The lack of competition and pressure does not dampen the energy produced on this special night. For many, this is their way of bidding goodbye to their favorite samba school until the next year. Tickets are far less expensive than the main event on Carnival Sunday and Monday.

How the top samba schools are judged

Which samba school is crowned champions all depends on the evaluation by 40 judges placed at strategic locations at the Sambadrome. The judges award points in ten categories which include Percussion Band, Samba Song, Harmony, Flow and Spirit, Floats and Props, Costumes, Vanguard Group, The Flag Bearer, Theme of the Year and Overall Impression. Four judges award points on a scale of 5 to 10 in each category.

One of the main categories where samba schools look to score maximum points is the Percussion Band. Samba drummers are known for their immaculate skills at setting rhythms that send everyone into a frenzy. The judges look for consistency among percussionists who are well supported by a bevy of dancers.

Every school spends a great deal of time on their samba song which is based on the theme they present at the samba parade. The judges keep a keen ear for the lyrics, melody, and the manner in which it blends with the choreography in connection with the theme, giving points for Harmony. The judges keep a close look on the pace of each performance and the smooth transition between sections, awarding points for Flow and Spirit. The costumes, floats, and props are what add character to the show, lending a visual appeal that remains forever in every spectators mind. Judges award points for the creativity of the costumes with relevance to the theme.

The Vanguard Commission, a group of 12 or more dancers that enter the parade ahead of their samba school, has the task of introducing their school to the spectators. Often, celebrities form a large part of this group which has now become a spectacle on its own with elaborate costumes in a quest to grab maximum points from the judges. Points are also awarded to the flag bearer and her escort, usually a couple that are the among the best samba dancers from the school. While there may be many flag bearers in a school, the judges concentrate on the first couple at the head of their samba school. Every school spends months composing their samba theme. They well rewarded with points from the judges based on how well they present the theme and incorporate it in their performance. Points are also given for overall impression which is a much debated category but remains one of the decisive factors in judging the champion of the carnival.

Tickets to the Sambadrome

The Sambadrome unfortunately has a capacity of only 80,000 while there are millions of people who aspire to be part of the biggest party on the planet. Tickets to the Samba Parade at the Sambadrome sell quickly. However, you do have a choice of seating arrangements that are available to suit every budget. Prices vary on each day of the competition with the most expensive days being Carnival Sunday and Monday when schools in the Special Group compete for the championship title. Tickets for the Access Group are inexpensive even though the level of entertainment can be almost compared to the two big days. Schools in the Access Group contend for a place in the Special Group so you can expect performances to be at the highest competitive level although the spirit of camaraderie remains even higher. Seating arrangements at the Sambadrome range from grandstands or bleachers with free seating to luxury suites.

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