By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Ash Wednesday, February 14th, Beija-Flor samba school was announced the winners of Rio’s Carnival 2018 parades, beating out twelve other schools. Earning their fourteenth title, Beija-Flor stood out on the Sambódromo with an enredo (theme) about Brazil’s social-political issues.
The main representatives from all of Grupo Especial’s (Special Group’s) thirteen schools attended to Sapucaí yesterday, February 14th, where LIESA’s judges traditionally gather to release the result. After a two-hour fierce competition, Beija-Flor was officially first placed in the contest, with a punctuation of 269,6.
Following Beija-Flor on the ranking, the vice champion Paraíso do Tuiuti surprised the audience for its excellent result: this was the second time in Carnival’s history Paraíso participated in Grupo Especial, having paraded with a samba enredo on the contemporary expressions of slavery in Brazil.
For the second time in a row, Salgueiro samba school was third placed in the championship, having dedicated its parade to the bravery of the Afro-Brazilian women. Following Salgueiro on the fourth and fifth positions were Portela and Mangueira, respectively.
Beija-Flor’s parade stood out especially for its creative and daring metaphors about Brazil’s social issues. One of the great highlights was the carro alegórico with Petrobras‘ headquarters being surrounded by a giant rat, alluding to the company’s corruption and precarious conditions.
In addition, the presence of drag artist Pablo Vittar and black singer Jojo Todynho on the parade didn’t go unnoticed, standing up against gender and race prejudice.
“Sapucaí was fulfilled with joy and emotion. Beija-Flor made people sing the samba along, which is a true cry out for help. The parade was very impacting, it portrays what our country has been through,” says Raíssa Oliveira, Beija-Flor’s queen of bateria.
The result for the Série A (Second League) championship was also announced this Ash Wednesday, February 14th. Samba school Viradouro was first placed, having presented a samba enredo on the genius personalities of history. Following Viradouro on the ranking was Unidos de Padre Miguel and Porto da Pedra samba schools.
This Saturday, February 17th, Sambódromo will host the “Champions Parade”, in which the six winners from Grupo Especial (Beija-Flor, Paraíso do Tuiuti, Salgueiro, Portela, Mangueira and Mocidade) walk on the Avenida again. In order to check how to purchase a ticket, see LIESA’s website. Prices vary from R$5 (popular bleachers) to R$5,000.