By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, February 12th, Unidos da Tijuca samba school will open the second day of Grupo Especial’s parade at Carnival 2018. The school is expected to enter the Sapucaí at 9:15 PM, paying tribute to Carioca actor, director and writer Miguel Falabella.

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After 74 years, Unidos da Tijuca conquered the first place at the Grupo Especial championship in 2010, 2012 and 2014, photo by Paulo Portilho/Riotur.

Represented by a blue-and-yellow flag, which alludes to the colors of Brazil’s former Royal Family, Unidos da Tijuca is the third oldest samba school of Brazil, born the 1931.

Unidos da Tijuca was founded from the fusion of four Carnival blocos from favela communities Casa Branca, Formiga and Ilha dos Velhacos – all of them situated in the neighborhood of Tijuca, in Zona Norte. According to Unidos da Tijuca’s members, the school’s mission is to preserve the traditional roots of Carioca folklore and to stand up for the people’s struggles.

Traditional and innovative at the same time, Unidos da Tijuca was the first to bring to the Avenida (another designation for the Sambódromo) the “carros alegóricos” (thematic cars) and the “alas” (groups of people who parade representing the same character or theme).

Despite its current prestigious position in the Grupo Especial, Unidos da Tijuca has a history of ups and downs since 1959, when it was first lowered to Série A (the Second League of samba schools). Parading at the Grupo Especial since 2000, however, Unidos was already four times first placed in the championship.

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This year, Unidos da Tijuca will pay tribute to Miguel Falabella, actor famous for his memorable performance at the Brazilian TV show “Sai de Baixo”, photo by Fernando Grilli/Riotur.

For many people, Unidos conquered its three last titles – in 2010, 2012 and 2014 – thanks to the exceptional work of carnavalesco Paulo Barros. One of the most renowned carnavalescos in Rio’s Carnival, Barros is known for the use of technology and magic tricks in the parades.

Having already presented samba enredos about themes like speed, secrets and forró music icon Luiz Gonzaga, Unidos da Tijuca will be starring this year at Sapucaí with “Um coração urbano: Miguel, o arcanjo das artes, saúda o povo e pede passagem”, samba enredo dedicated to Miguel Falabella, respected Carioca theater director, writer and actor.

Famous among Brazilians for his memorable performance at “Sai de Baixo”, one of the favorite comedy TV shows from the 1990s, Miguel Falabella’s over thirty-years of artistic career includes 25 TV characters, 11 movie characters, two screenplays and over thirty theater plays.

One of the most beloved samba schools among Rio’s Carnival fans, Unidos da Tijuca hopes to stir emotions from the audience on Monday, February 12th, presenting a lively samba enredo on Falabella’s professional and personal trajectory.

Those interested in participating in Carnival 2018 still have the opportunity to walk on the Sambódromo with Unidos da Tijuca samba school. In order to purchase a costume, click here to access Rio Carnival website.

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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