By Bruno De Nicola, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – As Carnival bacchanal celebrations get closer, the Sambodrome weekend rehearsals heat up, bringing to Rio de Janeiro the flavor of the biggest party in the world. Many samba schools prepare their huge parade and so does Grande Rio, the Gremio from Duque de Caxias, a city from the hinterland of the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City).
The LIESA, the Carioca Samba School Confederation, has already listed the Sambodrome technical rehearsals agenda for both minor and major league participants. The spectacular events started on December 6th and will end on February 7th. They happen every weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays nights, and are usually followed by a great crowd of samba school fans and tourists craving for Carnival 2010 grand competition.
During the technical rehearsals access to the Sambodrome is free, the municipality has already prepared the stadium to support a great number of people, granting safety and clean chemical toilets. On Sundays, after the rehearsals, for those who still want more, Samba shows happen on a stage built in the middle of the catwalk in front of Sector 3.
After a short break for Christmas and New Year’s holidays, 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 and Salgueiro on the 10th.
On March 22, 1988, the G.R.E.S. Acadêmicos do Grande Rio had its foundations laid with the support from the city of Duque de Caxias. The school had its origins in the bloco (carnival street band) G.R.B.C Lambe Copo from Prainha, a neighborhood in Duque de Caxias.
Red, white and green are the school’s colors and a shield mounted by a crown is its symbol. Despite the fact of being a fairly young Gremio, Academicos do Grande Rio has distinguished itself over the past twenty years as a strong competitor in the Sambodrome contest, bringing a great number of celebrities to parade on the Marquês de Sapocaí catwalk. As a matter of fact, the samba school from Duque de Caxias has been criticized for using an too many TV stars to attract both the audience and the jury’s attention.
For the 2010 carnival contest, Academicos do Grande Rio will be parading on February 15th, starting sometime between midnight and 1AM. This year the school has selected a self-commemorative theme: “Das arquibancadas ao camarote número 1, uma Grande Rio de emoção, na Apoteose do seu coração” (From the bleachers to the balcony number 1, a Grande Rio of emotions filling the beat of your heart). An enredo (theme) that will cruise along the twenty-one year school history.
Weekend activities have been temporarily suspended because of the season holidays, however Grande Rio keeps preparing during weekdays. The next rehearsal at the school’s facility is on Tuesday the December 29th, while the Sambodrome technical rehearsals will happen on January 17th and 31st.
Academicos do Grande Rio has a great website in English where all readers may find all necessary information related to school schedules and location.