You may have noticed that we’d rather be in Brazil right now. Especially during the lead up to Fat Tuesday and the Rio Carnival: the world’s wildest non-stop five-day party. Over the course of the festival, 5,000 dancers dusted with millions of sequins shake their tail feathers in 200 costumed and choreographed samba school groups for the more than two million revellers spilling out onto the streets.
This year’s outrageous pageant of bedazzled beauties, psychedelic plumage and daring dance moves runs from 13–17 February. Last year, Smith’s fearless co-founder Tamara Lohan (aka Mrs Smith) fulfilled a bucket-list wish for her big four-oh by slipping into a feather-festooned get-up with six-foot-wide wings and a towering headdress to march in the parade. She generously shared her how-to tips, so you can join the parade, too…
REASONS TO JOIN THE RIO CARNIVAL
• The costumes are incredible!
• The Brazilians are so passionate about the competition and their samba schools.
• To experience being part of all that madness, fun, colour and vivid display of life lived to the fullest.
• It’s the biggest party in the world – who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?
1 Get hooked up Specialised agents – such as Carnival Bookers in Copacabana – will connect you with a samba school and take care of every detail from your costume to delivering you where you need to be at the sambodromo (the parade venue). This is especially helpful if you don’t want to drag loads of feathers or a massive headdress on the Metro Rio (you don’t).
2 Visit Samba City This is where all of the costumes, floats and paraphernalia for the parades are made, and it will give you a sense of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this event.
3 Meet your samba school You’ll have a better time on the night of your parade and a greater sense of camaraderie with those you’ll be dancing with.
4 Think big When ordering your costume, go down a size. If you think you’re a medium, request a small (this is not like Brazilian swimwear – promise). Costumes run large, and there are adjustable ties on most outfits, so you can loosen as needed.
5 Try on your costume in advance You may need to add padding, sticky-back velcro or pins – all available from shops around town. The better you feel in the costume, the better you’ll be able to shake that tush.
6 Get ready to sing Learn the words to your samba school’s tunes, or at least be able to belt out the chorus with confidence.
It’s never too early to start planning for your Carnival debut. And we know some great hotels in Rio de Janeiro where you can rest your sequined headdress after the parade…