By Kyle W. Hedlund

Did you know that it is possible to experience Rio`s Carnaval from the inside? Most of the samba schools allow the general public to purchasefantasias (costumes) and dance along with them in the parade. For upwards of around R$300 you can participate in one of the alas (sections) that contribute to each school`s enredo (theme).

This year Caprichosos de Pilares, a samba school from the carioca suburbs, will be the fourth group on Carnaval Sunday to parade down Marques de Sapuca, the avenue that runs through the Sambodromo. Their enredo covers the culture and tradition of Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro`s neighboring state to the north. Chico Spinosa, the author of this creation, intends to present what he defines as the cultural antropofagism* of Espirito Santo, a place of diversity. *(Antropofagism?! Something along the lines of assimilating elements of artistic expression from other cultures.)

Caprichosos de Pilares` current production comes with no less than two innovations. The first has Indians from the Pau-Brasil tribe on thebateria (drum section) playing their traditional instrument, the casaca. According to organizers, this will be the first time Indians have participated in a Carnaval parade. The other new idea is the distribution of chocolates on the avenue during the passage of the 6th setor, which talks about Vila Velha, the city where the famous Garoto chocolate factory is located. In his synopsis Spinosa says, In Vila Velha I face the strength of chocolate.” Mmm.

I`ve already booked my place in the ala Vitória (Vitória is the capital city of Espirito Santo), which is part of the 6th setor and will present a costume alluding to chocolate from the Vila Velha factory. It is described as “making fun sweet” (i.e. I`ll be dressed like a large bon-bon). Ahead of the ala will be a carro alegórico (parade float) depicting a fantastic chocolate factory and all its machinery. Chocolate boxes will be distributed to drooling spectators along the way.

The president of the ala, Jnia Bizarelli, says that just a few costumes remain, but if you are interested in participating you could call 21 2242-9312 or 21 8742-5907 to reserve one. “We have high expectations for this year’s parade,” she concludes.

Site: – Fantasia 17

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