Unidos da Tijuca are the 2012 grand champions of Rio de Janeiro Carnival parades. The decision was reached today at the Sambˇdromo. The samba school from Rio's North Side won the most points in the Special Group. They were also the winners of Carnival 2010.
The Unidos da Tijuca parade paid homage to songwriter and musician Luiz Gonzaga, the King of BaiŃo, represented by a character all dressed in silver (photo above) and elevated by a crane.
In what has become an eagerly awaited Unidos da Tijuca hallmark, the parade directed by carnavalesco Paulo Bastos opened with a choreography by husband and wife team Rodrigo Negri and Priscila Motta, featuring a float representing Gonzaga's accordion. Out of the accordion came its "soul" - watch a video: Romanian showman and former gymnast Veniamin as the Human Slinky (who later that night "swallowed" a reporter during an interview).
One of the most intriguing alas, or groups, was that with a float and people representing the clay figures of pottery artist Mestre Vitalino (1909-1963) from Caruaru.
See more photos of Unidos da Tijuca 2012 and of all the parades in Rio de Janeiro on Riotur's Flickr photostream.
Together with Salgueiro, Vila Isabel, Beija-Flor, Grande Rio and Portela, the samba schools placed second to sixth place in the Special Group, Unidos da Tijuca will parade again this Saturday in the Champions' Parade (Desfile das CampeŃs) on the Sambˇdromo.
Photos by Rafael Moraes and Alexandre Macieira/Courtesy of Riotur.