You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about Rio Carnival. The world’s largest party is a sensory overload full of beats, dance, sun, performance and revelry as hot and vivid as any Brazilian’s bare backside (and you’re likely to see a few).
But, did you know that you could step into the shoes (or crazy feathered boots or whatever they may be) and experience Rio Carnival as it is meant to be – as a Samba dancer in the main parade of the celebration?
Yes, you can embrace your inner samba god or goddess and party hard alongside some of the most spectacular of human specimens in their pageant finery.
But, first have a squiz at this guide to joining the ranks of a performer at Rio Carnival. It’s no mean feat and requires some preparation (best get started now).
Book your flights/tour
You’ll need to start early with your travel preparations if you want to secure your place as a Samba dancer in next year’s Rio Carnival. Accommodation books out quickly at the biggest party in the world.
The Sunday and Monday of the festival are the highlights of the event.
This is when the Samba schools (that you can join with for the parade) will perform in the purpose built facility called the Sambadrome. You’ll need to organise accommodation nearby and transport to and from the Sambodrome on the Sunday or Monday.
You will need to buy tickets to the parade to secure your entry with many seating options available for your friends or to enjoy the rest of the spectacle.
Buy a costume
Buying a costume is a pretty thrilling part of the whole experience. You can really let yourself go and decide to become anything from Medusa to Beethoven. Costumes rang in price but you should be able to find something to meet your budget.
If all things fail, simply think: feathers, feathers, and more feathers. Really, you could probably rock up in a G-string, holding some maracas and be covered in glitter and you’d pass. However, if you really want to impress buying an authentic costume is a good idea. It is advised to buy your costume online and well in advance. Remember, drag queens do plan all year round – so you are up against some pretty stiff competition.
You can view costumes at http://www.riocostumes.com/
Contact a Samba School and listen to and learn your samba songs
You’ll need to contact a Samba school to be a part of a parade. Make sure you find out what songs they will be using and try to get an idea of what it is all about. No one wants to see you flapping your feathers about without a clue as to what it is going on.
You can download Samba songs here.
For more information on contacting a Samba school and participating in a parade visit the official Rio Carnival website.
Learn how to dance a little and get fit
Well, that should be pretty damn fit if you want to take it seriously at all. A lot of dancers actually get injured in competition. They really bring their game. Be prepared to “shake your boom boom” al la Ricky Martin. Samba is a Brazilian dance with an African influence. It would be wise to attend a couple of classes in your local area in preparation.
Get ready to party hard (whilst observing etiquette)
Yes! Get amongst it. But, do remember to follow parade etiquette. That means don’t get to intoxicated – as you can easily be kicked out of the parade and venue. To be in the parade is a manic explosion for the senses. But, the point is that you have to keep you senses in the first place. Most importantly, enjoy it – jump on a float, sidle up to a Brazilian hottie – be prepared for the experience of a lifetime!
For an amazing Rio Carnival experience, check out our tours to Rio.
By Patricia Higgins, Australian journalist, copywriter and model/actor.