Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Events | 0 comments

The Rio Samba Parade is the beautiful activity to enjoy with dancing, singing and partying during the the entire carnival celebration.

Samba Parade is the event where the city’s numerous Samba schools vie for the position of Grand Champion. Each Rio carnival Samba school practices their routine for months before the competition and during the samba parade they are judged on their performance, in a number of categories. The samba parade held to celebrate the Rio Carnival is undoubtedly the biggest attraction on earth, with visitors from around the world flocking to Rio for a week of dancing, singing, and partying. The Samba School Parade at Rio´s Sambodrome is something everybody has to experience at least once in life. The event is broadcast live to several countries, and all Brazilian states. Watching on TV is cool, but not half as much fun as being there. You have to mingle with the crowd, sweat, maybe even march with a samba school. Performances are made up of dancers, singers, a percussion group and other performers. The Samba Parade takes place on almost all nights of the Carnival but it’s on Sunday and Monday that the main samba schools take the runaway to compete for the Special Group big championship title. It all happens at the Sambodromo, an area in downtown Rio that was specifically designed and built to accommodate the samba parades.

Samba schools

Samba schools are Carnaval groups which participate in the official parades. No effort and money of whatsoever is spared to come up with an appealing theme/ allegory (called ‘l’enredo’), designing a flashy float and fancy dresses. And of course picking the right music and rehearsing the captivating dance steps. Preparations for the Samba parade usually take a full year!

Samba School by Parts

Schools are divided into alas (wings or sections), with people wearing the same costumes. Abre-alas is the first group, limited to 15 people or less. They are in charge of greeting the audience, setting the mood, and introducing the theme. Choreographies are often quite elaborate, and may be performed by professional dancers.

‘Alas’ – Ground Level Entertainment

Mangueira Samba School dancers

Mangueira Samba School dancers

For the samba parade each school is divided into sections called ‘alas’ or wings, with each wing consisting of 100 members or more wearing the same costume. In some samba schools, each wing will choreograph their own dance that they practice for months prior to the Carnival. While the dance does contribute to the overall score, the dancers must be upbeat, happy and sing their samba school song throughout the parade.

Ala das Baianas

The Ala das Baianas are the section of women who wear large circular traditional skirts. The women dance in the skirts by spinning in circles, creating a frenzy of applause and often a standing ovation.


Each of the marching Samba Schools is given approximately 85 minutes to parade through the Sambadrome as a panel of 40 judges meticulously rate their performances and ultimately crown a champion. Each and every participant of a parading Samba School has a specific role to play in the procession and it is vital to the school as a whole that each of its members executes his or her role flawlessly. Exceptional skill and execution are both required to ensure high scores from the judges, and to make sure that the school completes its entire performance within the allotted time-frame.

Vanguard Commission – Leading the way

The Vanguard Commission is a group of 12 or more dancers that are the first to enter the parade ahead of their samba school. One of their tasks is to introduce their school to the spectators, which is why celebrities often are a part of this group. As the Vanguard Commission leads the procession it is vitally import they put on a good show and impress the audience. They set the tone for the rest of the performance. Their energy and vitality infuse the crowd with their own vibrant excitement that carries throughout the show.

The Flag Bearer and her Escort

The first couple to come dancing down the parade strip carrying the school’s flag is the Porta Bandeira and Mestre Sala. While the lady moves along with the flag her escort dances gracefully around her. Most schools have several flag bearers, however, the first one is the most important in the eyes of the judges.

How to get to the Rio Sambodromo

There are a number of ways to get to and from the Sambodromo. A radio taxi service, authorized by the government will take you to the venue. They are easily identified by the stickers on their vehicles, and up to 4 people can share the cost of these cabs. To return from the venue to your hotel, these cabs can be found for hire between Sectors 9 and 11. If you are traveling by yourself you might want to hop on to one of the chartered buses. If you are willing to walk a bit you could take the subway, which stops a few blocks away. This is also the cheapest option.

How to Book Your Samba Parade Tickets

Brazilbookers offer the best deals online and a reliable service that you can trust. Buying a ticket on the site is very easy. Go to the carnival tickets request form and choose the kind of tickets you want and click on “Book my Rio Carnival tickets”. On the next page you can select the number of tickets you want as well as Delivery and Round Trip Transfers to Rio Sambodromo along with your Samba parade tickets. Visit: brazilbookers!