Updated on July 26, 2012
The Special Group, organized under LIESA, the Independent Samba School League, is formed by the top samba schools in Rio de Janeiro Carnival and hosts the most spectacular parades on the Sambódromo, Rio's samba walkway. LIESA announced the full schedule (see below) on the night of July 16, 2012.
The parades are a competition in which the last-placed samba school gets demoted to the Access Group (read more about what's new with the Access Group in Carnival 2013). The winner of the Access Group gets promoted to the following year's Special Group parade.
Each of the samba schools in the Special Group has to parade for a minimum of 65 minutes and a maximum of 82 minutes on the Sambódromo. They're evaluated in several aspects, such as samba-enredo, or theme samba; their opening wing (comissão de frente); their MC and flag bearer; and the performance of the percussion section, among other items. Delays cost the samba schools precious points in the competition for the coveted title of Special Group champion.
At the end of Carnival 2012, two samba schools were demoted to Access Group A: Porto da Pedra and Renascer de Jacarepaguá. That happened because the 2012 Special Group exceptionally had 13 parading organizations, due to the 2011 fire at Cidade do Samba which made for the special circumstance of no samba school being demoted at the end of that year's Special Group parades.
These are the samba schools which will parade for the Special Group in 2013:
Sunday, Feb.10, 2013:
- Inocentes de Belford Roxo (2012 Winner of Access Group A)
- Unidos da Tijuca (2012 Special Group Champions)
- União da Ilha
- Mocidade Independente
Monday, Feb.11, 2013:
- São Clemente
- Grande Rio
- Imperatriz Leopoldinense
- Unidos de Vila Isabel
Desfile das Campeãs (Champions' Parade) 2013:
The Champions' Parade, featuring the top six samba schools in the 2013 competition, will take place on the Sambódromo on Feb.16, 2013. Traditionally, the parade starts with the samba school which scored 6th place, with the winner parading last.