Carnival Balls in Rio
Keep up the partying spirit at a Carnival Ball of your choice
Glitzy, garish, entertaining, and extravagant, these are just a few terms that describe what Rio’s Carnival balls are about. Most balls are truly exotic affairs that even capture a large television audience from around the world. However, there is no greater experience than being one among the countless locals that have nothing else on their mind but partying for four nights in a row during the Carnival. The Sambadrome isn’t big enough for everyone; however, there is no dearth of Carnival balls to keep up the partying spirit. Moreover, there are balls that cater to every budget and sexual orientation as well. Balls for singles, gay balls, mixed balls, and traditional Carnival balls like the gala ball on Carnival Saturday at the Copacabana Palace, are only a few of a myriad options that visitors to Rio have. All you need to do is select a ball to suite your style and then go dance the night away. These Carnival balls are one of the best ways to experience the exciting nightlife in Rio.
Copacabana Palace Magic Ball
Talk about glamour, you will see it all at the Copacabana Palace Magic Ball on Carnival Saturday. This is one of the traditional balls to stand the test of time. Undoubtedly, the ball features a number of attractions including two bands playing live music throughout the night and a number of celebrities from around the globe gracing the occasion. Men have a choice of black tie or luxury costume, while women may choose an evening dress or luxury costume. The latter is more appealing if you want to experience how people entertained themselves through the centuries. If you are single you won’t be for too long, at least for the night, as a number of young men and women in masks are hired to entertain the guests and will get you on the dance floor in a moment.
The costumes at the Copacabana Palace Magic Ball are simply amazing. Most guests do make the effort to wear the most extravagant costumes possible. Along with all the pomp and circumstance, the hotel serves up a traditional carnival buffet that lasts right through the night. Tickets for the Magic Ball are sold out very fast, which means you need to be quick on the draw if you want a taste of Brazilian Carnival magic. Standing tickets i.e. tickets without a table reservation cost around US$ 1,300, while reservations at the Noble Room cost around US$ 1,600 per person, and US$ 2,400 at the Golden Room. The price includes an open bar and buffer dinner. Baile do Copa as the locals call it, has seen its share of celebrities through the ages including Brigitte Bardot, Gerard Butler, Paris Hilton and Vincent Cassel.
The Scala, a club in downtown, promotes a number of balls during the Carnival. The Red and Black Ball, Scala Gala, and Gala Gay are amongst the most popular events that are well covered by the media as well. To experience traditional samba rhythms you ought to attend the Mangueira Ball, Beija-Flor Ball, or Salgueiro Ball, where the drum sections from these samba schools take center stage. The Scala balls are usually televised so they attract local celebrities. Do not be surprise to see reporters and TV cameras at the ball capturing the excitement and speaking with the party goers.
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Gay Gala Ball
Among the wildest and most extravagant balls at the Scala is the Gay Gala Ball. You don’t have to be leading an alternative lifestyle to enjoy Carnival Fat Tuesday at the Scala. Drag queens, gays, lesbians, and transvestites compete at what is one of the hottest gigs in town. Drag queens come out in full bloom, often making it difficult to distinguish them from super models that sashay down the ramps today. The dance floor is packed with ‘queens’ of all ages with live samba bands and celebrity guest vocalists. Everyone is welcome at this ball be they gay or straight. This is one of the most popular and best known balls in Rio. All the “beautiful people” can be found dancing the night away here. This event is a perfect example of how accepting the people of Rio are to every sexual orientation.
Red and Black Ball
Scala pays tribute to Flamengo, Rio’s famous soccer team, on Carnival Friday with the Red and Black Ball (Baile do Vermelho e Preto). Once again, the club plays host to famous faces from all over Rio and is one of the most exciting and crazy event that attracts the television cameras as well. Ball Tickets are available at the venue before the event too; however, they sell out fast. Red and black is the obvious dress code, which must be adhered if you want entry into the club. The dance floor is packed with professional samba dancers on the stage in skimpy costumes to add fuel to the already intense atmosphere. In true carioca style, the party goes on until 6 am.
Balls for Singles
Single people have their opportunity to meet up with others at balls for singles that are held every night of the Carnival. Copacabana beach has a number of venues that promote balls. Tickets are around $20, which is insignificant compared to the amount of entertainment and excitement that surrounds these balls. Scala in downtown also welcomes singles to their balls held on every night of the Carnival. All the balls in Rio are ideal for single people. Everywhere you look singles and couples are having fun celebrating and dancing all night. Rio is a city of young single people and flirting comes very naturally for the local singles. If you are looking to meet new single friends then you have come to the right city.
Cinelandia Street Ball
For the past two decades the Cinelandia Street Ball is another favorite of many locals and visitors. Cinelandia square located in downtown neighborhood, plays host to some of the Carnival’s biggest performers on a stage set up in front of Rio’s Municipal Chamber. Rio’s working-class and older generations make up the crowd that dance away to the sounds of the samba and sing their favorite Carnival songs as well. Although the event is free on all days from Carnival Friday through Tuesday, the excitement is just as much when compared with many other balls held in the city.
Most balls don’t begin till almost midnight, so you ought to be ready for a really long night. Most balls are informal affairs; however, you ought to choose your venue wisely. Attending the most popular balls is a wise decision, as there are plenty to choose from. Many balls are held around the Sambadrome on the Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí.
Whatever your choice of Carnival balls, make sure you book tickets at the box office of the respective clubs or venues. Booking online is a great alternative. Some venues do offer online booking. While not many venues insist on costumes, the Carnival is the time to be different, and it won’t hurt to join the locals in a colorful costume. Who knows, the television cameras might just turn their focus on you. If you are straight and plan to attend the gay ball, don’t feel shy, there are plenty of straight people enjoying themselves too. Besides, you have your costume to cover up for you.