City of Samba
Samba City the birthplace of the Carioca samba
Samba City, in Rio’s docklands, is virtually the birthplace of the Carioca samba and home to the production units of the well-known samba schools in Rio. While preparations for the Rio Carnival carry on at these units, Samba City is now a major tourist attraction with the schools providing plenty of entertainment throughout the year. This area was built by the city of Rio to allow a place for samba schools to practice their routines and build their floats and parade costumes. Not only does Samba City serve the samba schools but it is also one of the largest arts and entertainment centers in Brazil. Samba shows are held daily much to the delight of the tourists. These shows teach spectators all about the rich influence of Samba on the native culture.
From shambles to samba jingles
Each samba school has its own facility within Samba City. Floats, costumes, samba lyrics, dance routines, and everything else to do with the Carnival are all brought to life at these production units. If you have been to Rio in the past, don’t expect to find decrepit factory plants in the vicinity any more. Since 2005, the area is the cradle of samba with several communities coming together to create and host the biggest event on the planet, the Rio Carnival.
Thursday nights are Samba City
The samba school units are proud of their teams so you don’t need to wait for the Carnival to experience what happens at the Sambadrome. For the uninitiated, Samba City is officially known as Cidade do Samba, the best place to go for a taste of colors, drum beats, song, and dance whenever you are in Rio. Visit the city during the day to witness how painters, artists, costume makers, and dancers go about their specific tasks. It’s amazing to watch the pride with which cariocas go all out to bring the championship title back home from the Carnival. While visitors are welcome to join in the rehearsals, Thursday nights are reserved for a blazing display of samba music and dance with buffer dinner and drinks. As a tourist, you ought to forget about everything else, head straight for Samba City to sing and dance to your heart’s content in true carioca style.
Keeping up the community spirit
Samba City symbolizes the spirit of unity which is meant to be portrayed in its construction with samba school units surrounding the main central square to form a large circle, symbolizing the coming together of communities from all walks of life. Moreover, Samba City is the country’s tribute to its ancestors who brought African art, music, and dance with them in the 17th century. In fact, it is an exciting blend on ancient and modern culture that comes to the forefront on Carnival nights.
From dreams to reality
Samba City is the place where samba schools strive to make all their dreams into reality. The elaborate costumes that are painstakingly handmade by hundreds of people from the community are a reminder of each team’s resolve to make it to the top in the world of samba. Earlier, costumes and floats were prepared by teams in their respective neighborhoods. However, the intensity with which they compete at the Carnival inspired them to develop grandiose designs for both costumes and floats, which became cumbersome to transport over long distances. Thankfully, this resulted in the development of Samba City, which took care of the logistics involved in hosting such a grand event.
Visiting Samba City
One look at Samba City will make you realize the massive scale on which the celebrations and competition are held at the Sambadrome. On the other hand, it also symbolizes the mainstream acceptance of samba into Brazilian culture. Understandably, there is an air of secrecy as teams keep their Carnival theme to themselves, which is why visitors aren’t allowed to take pictures in specific areas. For R$ 10, there are special shows for visitors held every day except Tuesdays at 10:00, 12:00 and 15:30 pm. As public transportation is not reliable, it is best to take a cab to visit Samba City.
Be part of the show and feel that emotion of Parading at the Sambadrome.
Being a part of the parade is one of those things you do in life that you will never forget. The experience of having more than 80,000 people looking at you (because you feel like they are looking only at you) is something really difficult to put in words. You gotta try it for yourself.