RIO DE JANEIRO – An important concern for the 13 samba schools hard at work preparing for the 2018 edition of Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival is to keep prying eyes away from the floats and costumes.
Laboring inside cavernous warehouses spread across an area the size of 10 soccer fields, the seamstresses, mechanics and jacks-of-all-trades who create the extravagant displays that parade through the Sambadrome remain vigilant for spies.
But while cameras are generally unwelcome, the popular Portela samba school allow media to visit their workshop.
“It’s a school founded in 1923 and it’s turning 95 in this 2018,” Portela chairman Favio Pavao told EFE. “In the course of all that time, it became the most victorious school, with 22 conquests.”
With Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivela’s decision to reduce municipal funding for Carnival by 50 percent, to roughly $4 million, the floats are sure to be less sumptuous.
In the Sambadrome procession on Feb. 12, Portela will follow Unidos da Tijuca, a 3,500-member samba school with six floats.