By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The first night of Grupo Especial (Special Group) samba school parades at the infamous Sambódromo was full of anticipation and performance technology. After two nights of the Access Group schools, and the city combusting with blocos, the Sunday and Monday Sambódromo parades mark the crescendo of Carnival in Rio. G.R.E.S. Escola Acadêmicos do Salgueiro during the 2013 Carnival parade at the Sambódromo, photo by Tata Barreto/Riotur. For many, Escola Acadêmicos do Salgueiro was the the most anticipated school of the night, having announced earlier that a limousine would be used in their comissão de frente. The theme they based their parade on was ‘Fame’, with a group of paparazzi with shiny cameras opening the show. A ‘famous’ person stood on top of the limo, sometimes throwing herself in the middle of the sea of paparazzi who caught her with a Salgueiro flag. Right behind that, a huge camera came down the avenue in an impressive float. Another highlight was the float ‘Baile de Máscaras’ (Mask Ball) that was all white with purple lights, with like statues that were static during the whole parade. Last year’s champions, Unidos da Tijuca, had a beautiful float that paid homage to operas by Richard Wagner, but the school might be penalized for issues they had with other floats during the parade – some of the dancers on other floats started feeling sick and had to be helped by firemen. Despite this, the school surprised everyone with their comissão de frente, with dancers dressed as Thor and holding hammers that magically floated in the air. They also jumped on a trampoline and stood in midair, wowing the public and leaving them wondering how the magic was done. The samba school Mocidade Independente had a challenge to impress the judges in their hands, since they haven’t been to the Desfile das Campeãs (Champion’s Parade) in nine years. The Samba-Enredo (Theme Song) was based on the years of Rock in Rio in Brazil, entitled ‘Eu vou de Mocidade com samba e Rock in Rio, por um mundo melhor’ (I’m going with Mocidade, with samba and Rock in Rio for a better world). The comissão de frente was dancing with the nostalgic moves of rock and roll in the 1960s, but many floats seemed to have a questionable connection with the theme like the one that looked like a plant and was meant to signify a better world. Read more (in Portuguese). * The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.