Updated on Feb.28, 2014
The bloco, often referred to as Cordão do Bola Preta, goes out every Carnival Saturday morning in downtown Rio, starting at the business area known as Cinelândia, then on Avenida Rio Branco all the way to the Candelária Church and back to Cinelândia. There's also an evening pre-Carnival parade.
Lore has it that beautiful, curvaceous woman in a polka-dot dress was the inspiration for the bloco's name.
At the end of 2008, as it reached its 90th anniversary, Cordão da Bola Preta was listed as a Rio de Janeiro Cultural Heritage. However, the bloco was facing problems with keeping its headquarters. Thanks to land from the city administration, donations and money from shows, in 2009 the bloco inaugurated the new cultural center in Lapa, with space for shows, a bar, and Carnival parties.
Centro Cultural Cordão da Bola Preta:
Rua da Relação 3
Rio de Janeiro - RJ
www.cordaodabolapreta.com.br (for this year's Carnival schedule, click on "Programação").
Official 2013 Bola Preta T-shirts
Carnival 2014 Parade:
Carnival Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.
Starting Point: Avenida Rio Branco 70. The parade will go down Avenida Rio Branco, from Presidente Vargas to Cinelândia.
What to Wear to the Parade:
Black polka dots on white is the signature style for Cordão da Bola Preta outfits. But you can just wear plain black and white or bright colors.
A flexible dress code (and crossdressing) is OK with Cordão da Bola Preta, but things don't tend to get too risqué - the bloco is popular with families, from kids to grandparents.
The music played by the loud brass band is mainly marchinhas de Carnaval, or Carnival classics.
The signature song for the bloco was written in its honor at the heyday of the marchinha era. The band plays it often (usually just the first part) during the bloco parades.
How to Get to Cinelândia:
By subway - the Rio de Janeiro subway has a station at Cinelândia. The subway stays open 24 hours a day throughout Carnival.