By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The last day of the Grupo Especial (Special Group) samba school competition was full of color and life last night. The final school to parade was G.R.E.S. Unidos de Vila Isabel, who danced through the Sambódromo to the sound of the Samba-Enredo (Theme Song) “A Vila canta o Brasil celeiro do mundo – água no feijão que chegou mais um…” (The Vila sings Brazil, the barn of the world – water the beans, some one is arriving…).

Escola Unidos de Vila Isabel during the 2013 Carnival parade, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The striking colors of Escola Unidos de Vila Isabel during the 2013 Carnival parade, photo by Patricia Santos/Riotur.

With striking colors Vila Isabel paid homage to the natural beauties of Brazil. The public was impressed and excited, chanting “‘É campeã!” (Champion!) as the parade ended.

Besides the bright display of bright hues, Vila Isabel‘s performance also impressed the spectators and judges with how clearly they represented their theme.

Every float and section of dancers was clearly recognizable. The comissão de frente consisted of a huge box that represented transporting goods from the fields to the city, with dancers wearing typical festa junina outfits – even including the traditional festa junina wedding.

One of the biggest floats had sun flowers that moved around as if following the sunlight. Sections of dancers represented the different kinds of plantations, looking like a big field from far away.

Imperatriz Leopoldina based their parade on Pará, a Brazilian state. Floats and sections of dancers represented the state’s culture and people. Scores of artists and musicians from the state celebrated down the avenue with the school like Fafá de Belém, Gaby Amarantos, Beto Barbosa and Dira Paes. However the school had issues with the third and fifth floats.

Rio’s oldest samba school, G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira, has been chosen as the Estandarte de Ouro 2013 for best school in the Grupo Especial. However, the school had serious issues with its float that had a huge bug towering over dancers when it got stuck on one of the press wings of the Sambódromo.

Photographers covering the event had to help loosen the float so that it could continue to move. The costumes used by the whole school were beautiful, especially the ones in the comissão de frente that depicted native Indians of Brazil.

Today, on the last day of the official 2013 Carnival, the judges will be scoring all the schools’ performances and a champion will be announced. On Saturday, the top six schools will parade one last time in 2013 for the Champions Parade.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


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