A Little More Information About The Samba Schools
What you need to know about the Samba Schools.
There are the conventional dance schools, learning institutions where you’re going to know how to dance, and among these dances you have the samba. It’s one of the most enjoyable Latin dances you’ll ever get acquainted to, and you can dance it alone or with several other partners.
However, when you get to Brazil, the word “samba school” is nowhere near the one you’ve known all your life. The school actually refers to the community of manufactures and dancers who perform in the world famous Carnival parade, for the sake of tradition, culture, and competition.
The samba schools are actually referred to as “escolas de samba” in Portuguese, and they are organized by the small poor communities in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo as well. They are not official schools, so you cannot “enrol” yourself into any one of these. However, there are some of them that open its doors to the tourists, and they can teach you a thing or two about how to manufacture a float or a costume, or even how to dance the samba more accurately.
Besides the competition, the members of the community also get together often just to sing and dance the Latin beat for fun, or just to grab a couple of beers. For the smallest Samba schools, through the years their goal has been to become part of those who parade in the Sambadrome, the huge venue where hundreds to thousands of performers and watchers converge.
It’s normal for them to practice for 8 months or even more. They are also responsible for everything associated with their performance. They have to come up with their own music and lyrics, hunt for percussionists and vocalists, assign roles to the participants, and select samba moves. This then means that they are free to stick with the traditional carnival style or include modernism perhaps opting for a funkier or more techno samba music. The samba school also performs based on a single theme. The concept will then be seen and felt by their routines, platforms, costumes, floats, and, of course, music.
So far, there are already 70 different samba schools, and they are classified into different groups. Two of the most popular are the access and the special groups. They are the ones who have the chance to perform in the official venue, the Sambadrome.
The access group performs first. Their objective is to become part of the special group. If you wish to dance in the venue, you can simply become part of any one of the samba schools found in the access group list. There are 11 samba schools on the access group; their parade is on Saturday night, usually starting from 7 in the evening until the morning.
The special group is composed by the elite samba schools. There are 12 performers further divided into two, 6 performers for every night, Sunday and Monday. The official parade of the special group lasts for two nights. They normally start at 9:00 p.m. and end at around 4:00 a.m. Then carnival queen can be picked from any of the samba schools in the special group.
The rest, those who are not part of the access or the special group, can only dance on the streets, usually close to their communities.