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By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Samba school Acadêmicos do Salgueiro will be the fifth school to perform in this year’s Grupo Especial (Special Group) Carnival parade competition. The school, which has remained steadily in the group for more than two decades, were last crowned champion of the league in 2009.

Acadêmicos do Salgueiro performing in 2016's Carnival parade competition, photo by Tata Barreto/ Riotur. Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Carnival, Carnival 2017, Salgueiro, samba schools Sambódromo, Carnival parade competition
Acadêmicos do Salgueiro performing in 2016’s Carnival parade competition, photo by Tata Barreto/Riotur.

For their 2017 parade competition entry, Salgueiro samba school take their inspiration from Italian literary classic ‘The Divine Comedy’, in which poet Dante Alighieri famously describes hell, purgatory and heaven. The school will travel through these three stages with their enredo (plot) ‘Divina comédia do carnaval’ (Divine Comedy of the Carnival).

Although Salgueiro’s 2017 Carnavalesco (Carnival designer) Alexandre Couto has kept details regarding the school’s enredo, he did tell G1 that the school’s procession will follow these three stages described in Aligheri’s poem.

“The school starts hot, burning, with the ‘Boat of Hell’, where ancient carnivals are remembered, of great societies, with devil costumes, skulls, bats,” he said to local media. “Then comes the purgatory, where the penitents’ cordon is represented by the seven deadly sins, which follow in a hallucinatory procession like the ranches. And finally, we arrive at paradise.”

Couto has made clear that despite the ambitious plot, the school is after the technical title this year. While the school has been reticent to reveal costume details, Salgueiro will incorporate influences from previous Carnivals with masquerades, bats, clowns, birds and butterflies at different stages in their procession.

Acadêmicos do Salgueiro in the Sambódromo in 2016, photo by LIESA/Fat Press. Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro, Carnival, Carnival 2017, samba schools, Carnival parade competition
Acadêmicos do Salgueiro in the Sambódromo in 2016, photo by LIESA/Fat Press.

The plot will also honor three of Salgueiro’s winning Carnavalescos: Fernando Pamplona, who drew inspiration from African themes, Arlindo Rodrigues, celebrated for elaborate costumes and Joãosinho Trinta, whose enredos dazzled spectators. In paying homage to its past Carnavalescos and their influences, Couto said that Salgueiro hopes to show, “beauty, creativity and good workmanship – and, above all, identity”.

Originally formed in 1953 from two samba schools in Rio’s Zona Norte (north zone) neighbourhood of Andaraí, Salgueiro parades under a red and white flag that shows the school’s tambourines and samba drums. The school finished in fourth place in last year’s Grupo Especial competition, and will perform this year on Sunday, February 26th at 2:20 AM.

Be sure to stay with The Rio Times to learn more about the other competing schools, winners and additional events during this year’s Carnival.

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