By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – G.R.E.S. Mocidade Independente Padre Miguel, also know as “Mocidade”, is renowned amongst the Cariocas (Rio natives) for their continually innovative parade creations. Having taken seventh place in the 2011 Carnival parade, and with just two months until Carnival 2012, Mocidade is stepping up its practice rehearsals in preparation for their big day at the Sambodromo on February 19th.
Formed in 1955, Mocidade is considered something of a trend setter since it was the first school, in 1980, to use a Rainha de Bateria (Queen of the Drums) to parade in front of the drummers. Ever since then it has been customary for all of the samba schools to recruit a Rainha.
However in 1985, once again Mocidade was ahead of the game and differentiated itself by employing famous Brazilian actress and TV presenter, Monique Evans as their Rainha.
Of the school’s past innovations, perhaps the most memorable to date is the winged ‘spaceship’ float of 2000, the only invention of its kind, which greatly impressed both the judges and the public.
Despite having managed to remain in the Grupo Especial (Special Group), without relegation for over twenty years, Mocidade has not taken the Championship title since 1996.
Nevertheless, the school is hoping to rectify the situation at Carnival 2012 with its current Enredo (Theme): “Por Ti, Portinari. Rompendo a Tela, a Realidade” meaning “For you, Portinari. Ripping the canvas, to the reality”.
The story will focus on the work of famous Brazilian artist Candido Portinari who portrayed the history and people of Brazil through his paintings which remain famous for their dramatic expression.
Tragically, Portinari died in 1962, ironically due to lead poisoning from his own paintings, however he left behind a great legacy which includes the works ‘O Mulato’, ‘Café’ and ‘Meninos de Brodowski’ that have inspired Mocidade’s 2012 parade.
As with Porto da Pedra, Mocidade was founded from a local football club in the neighborhood of Padre Miguel in Vila Vintém, a favela in the western part of Rio. Its emblem is a green and white, five-pointed star which symbolizes luck, success, and independence.
Similar to some of the other, older, schools, like Portela and Império Serrano, some feel that Mocidade remains prominent due to its long history as opposed to its current accomplishments.
Notably, Mocidade is credited for discovering and nurturing some of the most significant artists in Brazilian Carnival history. The late set, costume and theme designers Fernando Pinto and Arlindo Rodriguez both began their careers at the school’s studio.
Brazilian Actress Antonia Fontenelle was crowned 2012 Rainha at the clubs official ceremony on December 3rd. However, the choice has created some controversy amongst fans who do not believe the 37 year-old truly represents Mocidade, which stands for ‘youth independent’.
On the Other hand, Brazilian publication 180graus defends the actress by proclaiming her as “dedicated” following her energetic performance with the school in an informal parade through the streets of Zona Norte (North Zone) on December 11th.
Find out more about G.R.E.S. Mocidade Independente Padre Miguel and show support for the school by attending rehearsals. To see the schedule directions to their Quadra (samba rehearsal court) visit their website.