Once we arrived and found our group, we were able to put our costumes down for a bit and have some drinks while we watched the other schools prepare and begin their dance. I think it is the first time in my life I have seen carioca’s on time, even early for an event. About 30 mins before it was our schools turn we put the rest of our costumes on (don’t worry there were people there to help us otherwise I could have been there for hours trying to do it myself). Check out the back! It was surprising how fast the parade flew by, one minute we are standing around waiting to be told what to do and the next we are running/ dancing and singing in front of millions of people. People are cheering, singing and dancing along, I don’t think I can put into words what the energy felt like, but it was incredible! Also since it was so hot + heavy costumes I think I lost 5lbs in the process! As soon as we crossed the end line costumes were off and we were back in the van heading onto our next ‘carnaval adventure’. If you have a chance to dress up and be apart of the parade it is an incredible opportunity and you gotta do it! Check back for more post carnaval coverage!
As you know I have attended the Carnaval parades at the Sambadromo in Rio de Janeiro the last 2 years (see previous posts HERE); seeing the floats, costumes and dance numbers that people have worked all year on come to life is truly an incredible experience. This year I was able to actually dance and be a part of the samba school, Uniao Da Ilha (I have always wanted to dance in the samba parade so this was very exciting!!). Carioca’s for the most part are laid back, ‘chill’ people however they take performing in a samba school during Carnaval very seriously. Anyone that will be participating must learn the words of the samba school’s song (which is in Portuguese), be smiling, singing and dancing the entire time with out dropping any of the costume because the school is judged on it and it is on live TV. If you don’t know the words, pretend.. since you will be singing/hearing the song over and over (at least 50 times), you will get it by the end. The costumes are very intricate, include many pieces and are pretty heavy. Every costume is different but I’m gonna break down the one I was wearing for you: There is a main (big) piece that goes over your whole body (above), wings, and a head piece..I think it weighed about 20-25lbs in total but it feels like a lot more when it is 98 degrees out and it 1am!! We started getting ready at 9pm at my friends house; there is no where to leave your belongings while dancing so we were told to only bring a phone/camera and some cash (basically whatever you can fit in your bathing suit). Since it was so hot we wore our bathing suits and carried the costumes with us for as long as we could.