RIO DE JANEIRO – Samba school Imperio Serrano opened on Sunday the highly anticipated parades of the Rio Carnival with a homage to China, its culture, inventions and traditions.
Imperio Serrano, one of Rio de Janeiro’s most traditional samba schools, on its return to the top tier Special Group this year, decided to put on a tribute to the Chinese Empire, in an attempt to shine again in the Sambadrome and to remain in the Rio Carnival’s first division.
Entitled “The Empire of Samba on the Route of China,” Imperio Serrano’s parade opened with a vivid float in the form of a Chinese temple, from which martial arts warriors wearing traditional masks emerged. It was followed by enormous floats of Buddhist temples, huge Chinese dragons and a giant fan.
Imperio Serrano was the first of the Special Group’s seven schools to parade on Sunday night at the Sambadrome. Six other schools will follow between Monday night and early Tuesday.
Each school has between 3,500 and 5,000 members, including musicians and dancers, all wearing spectacular costumes. They have around 65 to 75 minutes to parade along the Sambadrome’s 700-meter runway, flanked by massive concrete stadium-like structure on both sides.
Imperio Serrano’s Carnival Art Director Fabio Ricardo used each of the elements of the parade to make allusions to China, from its culture, its traditions and its richness, to stories such as Marco Polo’s journey and the Silk Route.
The most prominent Chinese inventions such as gunpowder, the compass, printing and paper featured in the designs of some of the floats and costumes.