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Learn About > Carnaval > Samba Schools Rehearsals
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  Samba Schools Rehearsals  
These rehearsals are the best introduction to the authentic samba. The moment the first pulsating sounds from the percussion instruments of a samba school are heard, one's whole body responds and the feet follow the rhythm.

All samba schools have a rehearsal yard or hall, generally used on weekends. There people dance and learn the samba of the school that will be presented at the parade. It is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience.

There are also dress rehearsal at the Passarela do Samba, a good opportunity to enjoy part of the great festivity.

Watching the samba schools parade is living carnival itself. It means bouncing about, singing the lyrics of the sambas, supporting the schools, vibrating with the exciting atmosphere. For one hour and twenty minutes each school exhibits the beautiful creativity of local artisans, in a show of vitality, brilliance and movement, product of the community's hard work throughout the year. Groups of helpers are organized and, in the huge sheds in the Center, work does not stop. For those who take part in the whole process, the samba school is like a religion and every year the ritual of joy is dazzling.

Despite the name, they are not schools buy large membership clubs of musicians, costume designers, dancers and coordinators who spend 11 months of the year planning what show their school is going to put on during the next Samba championship.

They get a theme to work on in April, they start developing ideas for a parade in May, they start choosing the songs in August and start making the costumes in September. They rehearse till the end of January and present their parade in the Sambodromo during the weekend of Carnival, hoping to amaze the 4 judges in the 10 categories. The categories involve best lyrics, best drums, best costumes, best "floats, best dancing, best melodies etc, similar to the Oscars.

On ash Wednesday the voting is tallied and a winner is announced. The top five schools then perform their parade again in the "champion's parade" on the
following Saturday. Since the schools already won, this parade is looser and non-member's can buy a costume to parade in it.

Parading in a samba school during carnival becomes one of life's most unforgettable experiences, so if you get a hold of a costume, by all means take it if can afford it.

Prices for ground level costumes range from R$200 to R$700 depending on the school, where as the float costumes can go for R$5000 (and you have to look super-model hot and know how to samba to be considered for possible inclusion). As far as getting an amazing experience for a decent price, the R$300 costumes will do. Once you get the costume, you'll be assigned an aisle from that samba school. The 4000 costumed members wait for an hour before going parading through the Sambodromo, a mile long stadium designed for this competition. The parading takes each school 80 minutes. Since you are instructed by the aisle leader to just "jump around and have fun", 80 minutes goes by quickly, as opposed to the memories.