By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the official start of Carnival two months away, six samba schools entered the famed Sambódromo on Saturday, December 20th and Sunday, December 21st to begin rehearsals for the biggest samba competition in the world, Carnival 2015.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News, Brazil, Carnival 2015, Carnival Technical Tests, Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba, LIESA, Unidos de Bangu,  Alegria da Zona Sul, Em Cima da Hora, Acadêmicos de Santa Cruz, Renascer de Jacarepaguá, Inocentes de Belford Roxo
Inocentes de Belford Roxo samba school during their 2013 technical test, photo by Alexandre Macieira/Riotur.

The six schools with their enredo (themes) and samba-enredos (theme songs) already chosen, arrived at the Sambódromo to work out the technical details of their parade.

Following a schedule set by League of Independent Samba Schools (Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba/LIESA), three schools rehearsed on each day.

The Unidos de Bangu samba school was the first to practice on Saturday, followed by Em Cima da Hora. Alegria da Zona Sul then ended the night with their rehearsal.

Acadêmicos de Santa Cruz began their technical test at approximately 7:30PM on Sunday night followed by Renascer de Jacarepaguá. Inocentes de Belford Roxo went last, closing out the first weekend of technical tests for Carnival 2015.

Rehearsals will resume on Sunday, January 4th and will be held on most Saturdays and Sundays until early February. Last year’s champion school, Unidos da Tijuca will hold the final technical test on Sunday, February 8th. The rehearsals are open and free to the public. See here, for the complete schedule of technical rehearsals.

In 2015 the official Carnival dates are February 13 – 18th, and in October organizers opened the sales for seating during the internationally renowned samba parades held annually at Rio’s Sambódromo. Sales of individual seats and seats in the bleachers will not begin until January.

Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, built in 1984, and renovated in 2013, the Sambódromo also know as the Marquês da Sapucaí, seats approximately 90,000 people in its thirteen numbered sections.

Carnival in Rio, considered by many to be the world’s biggest and best celebration, is not just about the spectacular samba parade at Sambódromo though. A huge part of Carnival is the blocos (block parties), which are very popular, and free.

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