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By Bruno De Nicola, Senior Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Samba madness salutes the New Year and the Sambodrome nights heat up again this weekend pumping energy. Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, the white and green samba school from the western suburbs of Rio de Janeiro is getting ready for the catwalk and the 2010 technical rehearsals.

Mocidade Independente's samba dancers, photo by sfmission.com, Creative Commons Licence/Flickr
Mocidade Independente's samba dancers, photo by sfmission.com/Flickr Creative Commons License.

After a short break for Christmas and New Year’s holidays, all samba activities are back to normal and the next rehearsals will happen on  January 8th, a Friday night with the gremio Imperatriz Leopoldinense heating up the Sambodrome, followed by the “Majesty of Samba”, Portela, on the 9th and Mocidade Independente and Salgueiro on the 10th.

All over Rio the energy of Carnival is heating up and January is always full of amazing parties setting the stage for February’s four crazy days.

Edmar Gomes, a true Carioca from Catete, believes that “for many people, Carnival starts on New Years Eve. February is just around the corner, so I start to party now”.

For Jozé Ferreira, night guard in Santa Teresa, “warm up is an implicit part of Carnival and one of the best moments for tourists to visit Rio de Janeiro”.

The Carnival agenda in January is packed bands and blocos start to rehears their routines on the streets, usually playing in front of the most traditional ‘botecos’ (bar) or in small squares spread around the city. Then what was supposed to be a just a chance to practice, becomes an spontaneous and informal street party.

It’s not hard to catch one of those celebrations, all you have to do is walk down a street and sooner or later, you’ll see one, especially around Lapa and Santa Teresa.

The G.R.E.S. Mocidade Independente from Padre Miguel was founded in 1955, and just as for Unidos de Vila Isabel, the school’s origins are tied to an old football team, actually called Independente.

Mocidade Independente's 2009 joker costume, photo by sfmission.com, Creative Commons Licence/Flickr.
Mocidade Independente's 2009 joker costume, photo by sfmission.com/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Until the 70’s, Mocidade remained a mostly anonymous school but things suddenly changed when Castor de Andrade, a bicheiro (gambling mobster), and white and green fan, started to finance the gremio. Now the tetra-campeão gremio (four times champion), Mocidade, is hoping to take home another title this year.

Everybody at the school is intensely preparing to dance down at the Sambodrome contest on February 15th at 9:00 PM, to the enredo (theme): “ Do paraíso de Deus ao paraíso da loucura, cada um sabe o que procura (from God’s paradise to the paradise of parties, each one of us knows what he’s looking for). A theme that is basically about things that mankind has strongly craved for, starting from heaven and ending with capitalist power.

Mocidade Independente’s January event schedule opened on the Sunday the 2nd with a school rehearsal at the Padre Miguel facility, on rua Coronel Tamaraindo 38 – a place easy to reach by train from Central do Brasil.

On the Saturday the 9th , at the same location, there will be a delicious feijoada-fest, being served with the best samba around, and on the night after that, Mocidade’s  technical rehearsal at the Sambodrome, starting around 10:00 PM.

For further information please access the gremio’s website.

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