Carnaval is known worldwide as the world’s largest party. Every year hundreds of thousands of people gather in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate Carnaval with blocos, pagodes, parades, and of course lots of Samba. Residents and tourists all come together to watch the culminating event, Carnaval Carioca. Escolas from all over Rio come to compete and perform. Each school has one chance to wow the audience and judges. But behind each show is months and months worth of hard work and dedication.
This year, 10 of the performing company members of Escola de Samba Denver at Bella Diva World Dance will be traveling to Rio in only a couple weeks to be immersed in Brazilian culture during this Carnaval season!
The ESD dancers will join three different Samba Schools in Rio and parade down Sapucaí as members of the Escolas, organized by Sashya Jay and Nubia Santos as part of Samba Internacional.
The process for earning their place in each escola started in June of 2022 when each of the ESD dancers had to audition. A video submission to each school was required for every dancer to be selected to join various “Alas” (a wing or group of each parade).
Passista Ala with União de Jacarepaguá:
Escola Diretora Caitlin, Addi, and Grace auditioned to be a part of the passista ala at União de Jacarepaguá. Uniao is part of the Series Ouro Grupo (Gold series group).The passista ala includes some of the best dancers in each school. Many people auditioned and only 10 dancers were selected. In order to participate in the Passista Ala, Caitlin, Addi and Grace will spend 5 weeks prior to carnaval in Rio training with the Escola. During this time, they will become a part of the community, train with the resident dancers, take part in the Technical Rehearsal in the Sambódromo (Ensaio Técnico), ensaios de ruas, and perform at other community events. União will perform on Saturday February 18th at 9:00 PM (BRT).
Sambista Ala with Unidos de Bangu:
7 of the ESD dancers will join Unidos de Bangu as part of their Sambista Ala. Bangu is part of the Series Ouro Grupo (Gold series group). Chelsi, Anna, Andréia, Ali, Alina, Candice and Luki will head to Rio two weeks prior to carnaval in order to train with their Escola. The sambistas also had to submit a video recording in order to audition for their place in the Ala.
During their time in Rio they will train with their Ala directors, participate in Ensaio de Ruas (street rehearsals) and dance with their Escola in the big show. Bangu will parade on Saturday February 18th at 10:30 PM (BRT)
Float Ala with Império Serrano:
Coming off of their win in the Series Ouro Grupo in 2022, Imperio Serrano will move up to Grupo Especial this year. Three of the ESD dancers will join Imperio as members of their Float Ala. Caitlin, Chelsi and Luki will help Império open the grand competition as they perform on one of the floats as part of the Escola. Imperio Serrano will parade on February 19, 2023 at 10:00 PM (BRT).
While in Brazil the ten ESD dancers will also participate in multiple workshops with some of the best samba dancers in Brazil. It is an immense honor and privilege to participate in Carnaval with the local comunidades. They hope to bring their new knowledge and commitment of samba back to Denver to help continue to grow the samba community locally!
Want to check out the parades live? Tune into Globo at: https://g1.globo.com/carnaval/2023/ for a live streaming of all of the parades!
- União de Jacarepaguá will perform on Saturday February 18th at 9:00 PM (BRT)
- Unidos de Bangu will parade on Saturday February 18th at 10:30 PM (BRT)
- Império Serrano will parade on February 19, 2023 at 10:00 PM (BRT)
Follow ESD on IG & TikTok to keep up with their Carnaval journey and travel blog. @EscoladeSambaDenver