Rdj4u Review: Samba School Rehearsals

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Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival is by far the city’s largest and culturally significant event, attracting thousands of people from around the world to catch the contagious dancing, music, costumes and overall debauchery that the festival evokes. Carnival takes place in February, and while it only lasts for a few days, preparation for the following carnival commences almost immediately after it ends and lasts the whole year, for this reason, one of the top activities to do in Rio is to attend Samba School Rehearsals to join the samba practice party for the next carnival competition.

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Salgueiro dancers addresing the crowd during the samba school rehearsal.

Salgueiro Samba School

One of the most authentic and fun carnival rehearsals to visit in Rio de Janeiro is the Salgueiro Samba School, perhaps the most well-known and representative samba school in the city. The Salgueiro Samba School was founded in 1954 in the Morro do Salgueiro (Salgueiro Mount), a favela in the Tijuca Neighborhood. Since then, they have won Rio de Janeiro Carnival championship at least nine times and at least 43 times classified in the top five. Their drums received the Golden Flag in several opportunities and many of their samba songs like “Pega no Ganzê” (Festa para um Rei Negro) became famous around the world. The GRES Acadêmicos do Salgueiro is well-known for having talented dancers and inspiring themes, as well as the largest number of fans including many celebrities.  Salgueiro’s samba school is located in the North Zone in Andarai, a very friendly area of the city, which probably makes easier to visitors to attend to their rehearsals.

The Samba School Rehearsal

The Salgueiro Samba Rehearsal begins on June, and every Saturday at 10pm their dancers, players and fans gather to practice their performance at the carnival parade.   The night begins with a guest Samba band and the training of the new dancers.  Following, you’ll have a three hours live concert of samba and forró by the “Banda Furiosa” (furious band), while the main dancers of the school perform in colorful outfits.

The samba school rehearsal at Salguero’s samba school is definitely a one-of-a-kind travel experience.  It allows you to share the local culture, to catch the contagious happy energy of the cariocas that will make you feel part of the performance. No matter if you are an experienced dancer or not, the music is so powerful that without thinking you will start moving your feet to the point of wishing it never ends.

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Both locals and tourists come to watch the spectacular performances that are rehearsed for Carnival each year.

The Salgueiro Samba School is located in the Andaraí neighborhood in Zona Norte, which is considered one of the most secure places out of all the samba school locations. The carnival rehearsal goes until 3am, and inside you can find plenty of local food and a variety of drinks at affordable prices.  Wearing comfortable and informal clothing is also very important as you probably are not used to being in such parties and and with a tight travel itinerary, you won’t want to spend a full day of recovering your damaged feet.

The Salgueiro samba school rehearsal is definitely the best alternative if you are not going to be in Rio for Carnaval. You can just show up by yourself, but having the company of a tour will ensure you a safe transportation there and back besides having the support and the company of a group of travelers that just like you, will be positively shocked by the experience.

Be sure to book a samba practice in advance, along with many other tours and  activities in Rio de Janeiro.

Happy and safe travels!

By: Alyse DiNapoli