Latin American Dance News

The Samba School Viradouro Clinches Victory at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival, a spectacle of color, music, and festivity, crowned the Samba School Viradouro as this year’s grand champion. Over thirty judges evaluated participants based on various criteria, including costumes, story, overall harmony, and music. Viradouro stood out with its innovative parade, celebrating the strength of black women through the theme of a sacred snake worship.

This victory was the result of an intense competition among the elite samba schools in Brazil’s most iconic carnival. The jury, assessing components like the narrative, harmony, and visual presentation, awarded Viradouro the top score of 270 points. This was just enough to edge out last year’s champion, Imperatriz Leopoldinense, which scored 269.3 points.

Viradouro’s winning theme revolved around African voodoo beliefs and the formidable sisterhood of warrior women. A highlight of their parade was a mechanical snake that slithered its way through the 700-meter Sambadrome runway, operated by a person lying horizontally inside the structure.

This win marks Viradouro’s third championship title, following their previous victories in 1997 and 2020, and places them as the ninth most successful school in the history of the competition. Still, they remain far behind the most celebrated school, Portela, which has claimed 22 titles in its 101-year history.

The competition saw fourteen of the Grupo Especial schools, each bringing between 3,000 and 5,000 performers to the Sambadrome, with allotted times between 65 and 75 minutes to present their chosen themes. Judged on harmony, melody, and originality of costumes and floats, each school aimed to dazzle the 72,500 spectators.

Unfortunately, Porto da Pedra, portraying a 16th-century Spanish almanac popular in Brazil’s northeast for two centuries, received the lowest score, relegating it to a lower division for next year’s competition.

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