By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With signs of Carnival fever slowly starting to emerge, Samba Schools in the coveted Grupo Especial (Special Group) are turning up the tempo of rehearsals. Yet one school in particular is no doubt feeling the weight of anticipation – the newest addition to the Grupo Especial – Inocentes de Belford Roxo.
Having secured their place in the elite group as last years Grupo de Acesso (Access Group) champion, Carnival 2013 will be the first time the school has ever featured in the Grupo Especial. Most importantly for Carnival fans however, is that Inocentes de Belford Roxo has the responsibility of opening the grand parade on Sunday 10th February.
Founded in 1993, Inocentes de Belford Roxo is a relatively recent school when compared to the likes of Portela and Mangueira who have been around since the early 1900’s. Nevertheless, the school showed competitors and judges alike that great things were to come after their impressive debut parade which celebrated one of Brazil’s and Rio’s most famous stars, Carmen Miranda.
For the 2013 Enredo (Theme) the school investigates the seven unions of the river Han in South Korea. The performance will also focus on the goddess of wind, Yondung Halmoni, who is celebrated in shamanic rituals.
This rather unique and adventurous topic was chosen to honor the Korean community in Brazil, which is slowly growing, by incorporating their rich traditions in to the performance such as ritual dances and flowing colors to represent the movement of water.
Lucilene Caetano has been announced as the schools Rainha de Bateria (Queen of the Drums) who will lead the drum procession down Sapucai. This will be the first time that Caetano will parade with Inocentes de Belford Roxo yet the young model has a wealth of experience in the coveted position of Rainha from her days as muse to Portela.
Having stepped up her exercise regime in preparation for the big event, Caetano recently described feelings towards the schools parade. She said: “The beauty attracts but it’s the content that convinces us.”
Inocentes de Belford Roxo are named after the area from which they originated, Belford Roxo, which is located in the metropolitan region of the Rio state. Their colors are red, blue and white while their club emblem is the rather poignant symbols of doves and hearts.
The school famously obtained victory in Carnival 2012 with their winning Enredo “Corumbá – Ópera Tupi Guaikuru” which was created especially for them by noted theme and costume designer Wagner Gonçalves.
The Enredo told stories and legends of the city of Corumbá in the center-west of Brazil near the border of Paraguay and Bolivia. On securing victory, Carnival director Marcelo Varanda was reported to have said “Innocntes de Belford Roxo will enter the special group as the great school it is. Lets fight on equal terms.”
Spirits are high at Inocentes de Belford Roxo, who are proud to be included finally in the competition of elites. They will have the honor of opening the Grupo Especial schools parade on Sunday, February 10th, and it is hoped that they will have done enough to be able to remain there, unlike their previous rivals, Renascer de Jacarepagua, who were demoted after only one year.
To catch the school rehearsing, visit their Quadra (School Hall) in Parque São Vicente – Belford Roxo from January every Friday at 10PM.