Updated on Dec.6, 2012
Before dazzling the world in the grand Carnival parades at the Sambódromo, Rio's samba schools need to rehearse. They do that in sizzling get-togethers, open to visitors, held every so often during the last months of the year at the quadra - their home base.
But that's not enough to master the time constraints and rules of the competitive Carnival parade on Rio's samba runway. Samba schools need technical rehearsals at the Sambódromo so they can get ready for the big day.
Technical rehearsals are free - and they've got to be one of the best freebies on earth. Even though you won't see the most glamorous costumes, and the floats will be sparsely decorated frames, samba schools put up quite a show during these very organized events.
Technical rehearsals provide the percussion section and puxador de samba, or lead singer, in each samba school an invaluable chance to see how their timing is working out. What you see will be their best performance possible - they need to consider every detail and find out what has to be improved if they want to have a chance at winning.
Some samba schools in the Special Group, associated under Liesa (Rio's Independent Samba School League) bring about 3,000 members to Sambódromo rehearsals, dressed in clothes specially designed for the occasion. The mestre-sala and porta-bandeira - the MC and flag bearer who open the parades; the velha guarda, or veterans; the queen of the percussion section; and baianas, women dressed in traditional Bahia attire, will be there.
2012/2013 Technical Rehearsal Schedule
The Technical Rehearsal season will start on Dec.9, 2012 with two samba schools from the new group in Rio de Janeiro Carnival known as the A Series. Special Group samba schools will only start their Sambódromo rehearsals on January 6, 2013.
See the full schedule on the LIESA website, with A Series samba schools listed in italics.
The starting point at the Sambódromo for each parade is marked (B) Balança; (C) Correios.