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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The remaining six samba schools from the Special Group paraded in Rio’s Sambódromo on Monday, February 16th, bringing the 2015 Carnival championship competition to a close. First to parade was samba school São Clemente, the school, which originates in the Zona Sul (South Zone) neighborhood of Botafogo.

Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Carnival 2015, Rio Carnival, Carnival Competition, Sambódromo, São Clemente, Portela, Beija-Flor, Uniao da Ilha, Imperatriz, Unidos da Tijuca
2014 Carnival champions Unidos da Tijuca paraded last for the Special Group on Monday, February 16th, photo by Raphael David/Riotur.

São Clemente paid homage to artist Fernando Pamplona through their theme this year. Well known for their creative and ironic treatment of themes, the school did not disappoint this year.

Parading second on Monday was samba school Portela. Portela is considered one of the most traditional samba schools in the city and this year presented the theme; “ImaginaRio, 450 janeiros de uma cidade surreal” (ImagineRio, 450 Januaries of a surreal city).

With several of their many floats displaying their representative eagle with its wings spread wide, the school helped celebrate Rio de Janeiro’s 450th anniversary in a way only they could.

Samba school Beija-Flor de Nilópolis paraded third on Monday night. Best known simply as Beija-Flor, which translates to hummingbird, the school celebrated the country of Equatorial Guinea as they presented the theme; “Um griô conta a história: Um olhar sobre a África e o despontar da Guiné Equatorial. Caminhemos sobre a trilha de nossa felicidade” (A griot [a West African storyteller] tells the story: A look at Africa and the emergence of Equatorial Guinea. Let us walk on the path of our happiness.)

Entering the Sambódromo fourth, samba school Uniao da Ilha presented their 2015 theme; “Beleza pura?” (pure beauty?). Known for their fun and ironic themes, the school played with the ideas of image, the representation of beauty and youth during their procession. There were appearances by Snow White, the seven dwarves, and many Evil Queens.

Samba school Imperatriz Leopoldinense paraded next. Best known simply as Imperatriz, this year the school celebrated African heritage in Brazil and took a stand against racism as they paraded.

Bringing this year’s competition to a close, the 2014 Carnival champion school Unidos da Tijuca paraded last on Monday. Celebrating carnavalesco (Carnival parade designer) Clóvis Bornay and the country of Switzerland, the school presented an over-the-top procession.

Clóvis Bornay was born to a Swiss watchmaker and to pay homage to the famous Carnival designer, Unidos da Tijuca presented imagines from dream Bornay had that featured the stories his father told him about his homeland. The parade was complete with depictions of William Tell, snow, ice, and the St. Bernard dog costumes.

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