By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The twelve-time Carnival Champions, G.R.E.S. Beija-Flor de Nilópolis is known for their elaborate and artistic presentations over the years. In 2014 they will enter the Sambódromo as the sixth – and final – school to parade on Sunday, March 2nd for the Grupo Especial (Special Group).
Referred to as simply Beija-Flor, they have achieved the reputation of being the best school by a combination of outstanding and unparalleled artistic organizational management, with a strong determination to win. It is the only school with a whole team of five carnavalescos (Carnival designers) whereas most other schools only have one.
They are also known for enforcing strict rules and having the highest expectations towards all of its parading members. The school boasts seven victories over the last fourteen years alone, beginning in 1998 then later in the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011.
The name Beija-Flor, which translates to ‘humming bird’, was chosen because of a ranch by the same name located near where the school originated in Rio’s suburb of Nilópolis. Founded in 1948 but officially paraded in 1954, Beija-Flor did not achieve major recognition until the mid-1970s when the infamous Joãosinho Trinta took on the position of carnavalesco.
In 1976 Trinta joined Beija-Flor and there he began what many consider a new era for the school, helping them to win five championships in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1983. The most remarkable parade procession was in 1989 with the controversial theme of “Rats and Vultures; Let Go of My Costume.”
The comissão de frente (front commission) paraded while dressed in rags while other members dressed as sanitation workers and danced along beside them. There was also a controversial float depicting the famous Christo Redentor statue as a bum, a legendary depiction of the poor to the Brazilian public and worldwide. Under Trinta’s artistic direction the school flourished and its parades, whether victorious or not, always left a lasting impression on the audience.
This year’s theme “The Astro Illuminated the Brazilian Communication,” will depict a tale of ancient communication to today’s modern technology. The parade is expected to show early ways of communication such as smoke signals, bird couriers, Egyptian papyrus, the invention of paper in China to the history and relevance of different resources of communication such as the telephone, radio, newspaper, television, advertisements and internet.
Legendary Brazilian journalists and commentators will also be commemorated such as O Globo’s Jose Bonifacio de Oliveira Sobrinho or best known as Boni.
Amongst its many famous supporters such as Brazilian Ex-President Lula, is Grammy-award winning Brazilian singer and composer Roberto Carlos who achieved international acclaim in the 1980’s. Consequently, the school’s wining theme of 2011 paid tribute to this beloved musician, titled “Roberto Carlos: A Simplicidade de um Rei” meaning “Roberto Carlos: The simplicity of a King.”
The Carnival competition is right around the corner and with little time to spare the school rehearsals are becoming intense. One person however who is not fazed is Rainha da Bateria (Queen of the drums) Raissa Oliveira as this will be her twelth year parading with the school.
Beija-Flor will practice every Thursday night at 10PM until Carnival at their quadra (rehearsal hall) in Nilópolis. See more at their web site.
G.R.E.S. Beija-Flor de Nilópolis
10225 Rua Pracinha Wallace Paes Leme – Nilópolis
Phone: (21) 2791-2866