Cidade do Samba

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Cidade do Samba, at Gamboa is where 14 samba schools of the Grupo Especial prepare for the festivity. Photo: Marcelo Tabach/Diadorim Ideias
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At Marquês de Sapucaí, the Sambadrome is the highlight of the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Months before the show begins in the walkway, the preparation work takes place at Cidade do Samba, a place built to host the warehouses of 14 Samba Schools of the Grupo Especial of Rio de Janeiro. At the complex, floats and part of the costumes and accessories are made. 

Photo: Marcelo Tabach/Diadorim Ideias

The warehouses have, on the first floor, sections where blacksmithing, carpentry, glazing and tire repair work can be made. At the second floor, a cafeteria and changing room host about 150 workers daily. In the third floor are the administrative lounges, art workshops, a meeting room, the carnival directors and president's offices and costume lockers. The last floor offers accessories and styrofoam workshops, a warehouse, papier maché, painting and resin work.   

A carnival artist of Beija-Flor de Nilópolis Samba School, Ubiratan Silva says the Cidade do Samba works as a company. "We work from Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 5pm, all year round", he says. According to Bira, the artistic part of the work makes everything more pleasant. "Carnival is a real Fine Arts school".

An accomplished seamstress, Dona Nancy da Silva (Mrs. Nancy da Silva), born in 1942, asys working for the Carnival is addictive. "It is my drug", says the Portela worker, who has been part of the Carnival making for 30 years. With her, artists, sculptors, laminators, accessory makers, embroiderers, milliners, blacksmiths and carpenters work. The Carnival industry employs an average of four thousand people.

One of the only female blacksmiths at Cidade do Samba, Rachel Barbosa says heavy work is not a problem for her. "The only challenge for me is the prejudice from people", says the Mangueira Samba School worker, who works hard but is also very careful with her appearance. Using her blacksmith tools, she makes the structures for the heavy floats.   

The samba schools parade in Rio de Janeiro is considered the largest popular festivity in the world. Named Cidade do Samba in 2006, it was later named Cidade do Samba Joãosinho Trinta in 2011, after a decree from mayor Eduardo Paes in tribute to the carnival artist who had died that same year.

General Information

Address: Rivadávia Corrêa Street, Gamboa.

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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