By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Considered by many in Rio to be the most fun of the Grupo Especial (Special Group), Salgueiro has been announced as the second Samba School to parade down the Sapucaí on Sunday, February 10th. Known for having one of the largest fan bases in Brazil, the Escola Acadêmicos do Salgueiro will no doubt receive support as it attempts to win Carnival 2013 and collect its tenth victory.
Established in the 1950s, it was not until the 1960s that Salgueiro really began to stand out, thanks to its impressive and talented dancers and gift for showcasing inspiring Enredos (Themes) that many other schools fell short of.
Despite some close calls with the judges, Salgueiro has not reclaimed the title since its last victory in 2009. After its performance in Carnival 2012, Salgueiro was crowned runner up, having just missed out to current champion Unidos da Tijuca.
Last years Enredo was “Cordel Branco e Encarnado” – a reference to cord literature, which is a very old and treasured custom in the northeast of Brazil. Although the theme did not bring victory for the school, it does demonstrate the continually imaginative nature of its Carnival themes.
With Carnival 2012 behind them, the school is preparing its dancers and rehearsing its new Enredo “Fama”, which will explore the notion of fame – something the school itself has experienced over a prolonged period.
The plot is sponsored by popular Brazilian magazine Caras (Faces) which is similar to the U.S., and UK equivalent Hello magazine. Once again, actress and celebrity Viviane Araújo has been selected as Rainha de Bateria (Queen of the Drums) making this her sixth performance with the school.
Fans of Salgueiro are steadfast in their support of the school and often feel as strongly connected to it as they would their favorite football (soccer) team. The school’s rehearsals at the Quadra (School Hall) are some of the most attended in Rio.
Carioca Lizandra Padoin explains: “It’s a very happy school. One can see this through the song and its colorful displays; it’s a fantastic experience to watch it in action.”
Similarly, Luciano Oliveira another Carioca admits: “For me Salgueiro has always had beauty. The most beautiful dancers, the most beautiful costumes, everything is beautiful.”
The school also counts a number of celebrities as fans, including musician and songwriter Jorge Ben Jor and acclaimed footballer Romário amongst others.
The Quadra is located in Andaraí in Zona Norte (North Zone), which is considered one of the safest locations of all the samba schools, another reason they are well attended. Fortunately, the school has increased its rehearsal schedules so supporters are better able to witness the magic for themselves.
Anyone wishing to experience Salgueiro rehearsing can visit the school on Wednesdays from 8PM until 10PM and Saturdays from 10PM (although don’t expect things to really get going until 1AM).
G.R.E.S. Acadêmicos do Salgueiro Quadra
Rua Silva Teles, 104 – Andaraí
Rio de Janeiro -RJ – CEP 20541-110
Tel.: (21) 2238 0389