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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Months before Carnival celebrations will take over Rio de Janeiro and the city’s famous samba schools will parade in the Sambódromo, Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba /Liesa (Independent League of Samba Schools), organizers of the famous Carnival championship, announced the official 2016 Carnival schedule and the schedule for the participating samba schools’ rehearsals, which will also take place in the Sambódromo during the months of December and January.

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Samba school Beija-Flor won the 2015 Carnival competition in Rio de Janeiro, photo by Raphael David/Riotur.

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Carnaval competition will take place next year on February 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th, with the winners of the competition announced on Ash Wednesday, February 10th.

With enredos (themes) ranging from celebrations of the upcoming Olympic Games to tributes to artists, musicians, athletes, soccer clubs, cities, locations and notable figures in Brazilian history and culture as well as explorations of issues currently faced by the country, a total of twenty-six schools will parade in the Sambódromo during the four days of competition.

The fourteen samba schools of the lower Grupo A (Group A or Access Group) will parade on February 5th and 6th, with seven schools parading each day. The twelve schools from the Grupo Especial (Special Group) will parade to compete for the main championship on February 7th and 8th, with six schools parading each day.

In order from first to enter the Sambódromo to last, the schedule for the opening day of February 5th, the first day of the Group A parades is; Acadêmicos da Rocinha, Alegria da Zona Sul, Unidos do Porto da Pedra, Acadêmicos de Santa Cruz, Unidos do Viradouro, Renascer de Jacarepaguá, and Império da Tijuca.

On February 6th, the second day of the Group A parades, the schedule from first to enter to last is;
União do Parque Curicica, Paraíso do Tuiuti, Inocentes de Belford Roxo, Império Serrano, Caprichosos de Pilares, Unidos de Padre Miguel and Acadêmicos do Cubango.

The schedule for February 7th, the first day of the Special Group, from first to last is; Estácio de Sá, União da Ilha, Beija-Flor, Grande Rio, Mocidade, and Unidos da Tijuca. For February 8th, the second day of the Special Group parades, the schedule from first to last is; Vila Isabel, Salgueiro, São Clemente, Portela, Imperatriz, and Mangueira.

The samba schools’ ensaios técnicos (technical rehearsals) also will take place in the Sambódromo and are free to the public. The rehearsals are scheduled to begin this year on December 13th and will continue through January 31st of next year.

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Rio’s famed Sambódromo, where both the Carnival competition and the rehearsals will take place, photo by Marco Antonio Cavalcante/Riotur.

On, most nights three samba schools will hold their rehearsals, with the exception of two nights when two schools will rehearse and the final night, when only the 2015 champion, samba school Beija-Flor will rehearse.

On December 13th, Rocinha, Alegria da Zona Sul, and Vila Isabel will rehearse. On December 20th, União do Parque Curicica, Estácio, and Mangueira will rehearse. Porto da Pedra, Acadêmicos de Santa Cruz, and Renascer de Jacarepaguá will rehearse on January 9th. While, Inocentes de Belford Roxo, Uniãp da Ilha, and Mocidade will rehearse on January 10th.

Caprichosos de Pilares and Império da Tijuca will rehearse on January 16th, one of two nights with only two schools rehearsing. Paraíso do Tuiuti, Unidos aa Tijuca and Portela will rehearse on January 17th. Acadêmicos do Cubango, Império Serrano, and Unidos de Padre Miguel will rehearse on January 23rd.

Viradouro, Grande Rio, and Salgueiro will rehearse on January 24th. São Clemente and Imperatriz will rehearse on January 30th, the second night of only two schools rehearsing and finally, on January, 31st, the Sambódromo will be cleaned, the lights and sounds tested and the samba school Beija-Flor, the 2015 champions, will rehearse.

Additionally during the lead up to the competition nights, the schools will host weekly practices in their quadras (practice halls). Those rehearsals are also open to the public with entry fees that range from free to around R$40. See individual samba school websites for more information.

Stay with The Rio Times during the lead-up to and throughout the 2016 celebrations Carnival, for more information about this year’s competing samba schools, their enredos (themes) and practices, as well as for information about the street parties known as blocos and additional Carnival-related events.

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