São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

Here’s just one of the six samba parades I saw at Rio de Janeiro’s 2012 Carnival celebration. Opening the second night was the São Clemente Samba School.

In case you missed it, find out all about the background and work that goes into creating a samba parade for Carnival in my post {here}.

São Clemente was the only participant from Rio’s South Zone. Established in 1961, São Clemente’s school colors are yellow and black. In the Special Group, which consists of the best thirteen samba schools in Rio, they are the only ones to use black as a color. Their symbol is Sugar Loaf Mountain and are known throughout Brazil as being irreverent. For example in 1984, their theme, “Don´t Run, Don´t Kill, Don´t Die: The Devil is Free in the Streets,” referred to the street violence in Rio.

São Clemente has never won a title and placed last in 2011, a year that three schools didn’t even compete. Large-scale fires destroyed warehouses that contained costumes and floats just weeks before Carnival was to start. A year’s worth of work went up in flames, and some suspect the fires were no accident.

Looking to reverse their below-par showings, São Clemente chose for their 2012 theme, “Uma Aventura Musical na Sapucaí” which translates to “A Musical Adventure in Sapucai’.” The theme took inspiration from famous Broadway musicals such as Les Miserables, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, La Cage Aux Folles, and Victor/Victoria,  as well as made references to classic movie musicals like The Wizard of Oz.

Below is a pictorial of  São Clemente’s interpretation of the world’s greatest musicals with a Brazilian flair.

6928301693 16fe70e84f z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThe Sambordromo before parades start

6928301861 fbf0361ccb z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil Fireworks explode into the night sky to indicate the parade is beginning.

6928302041 d967a23cc9 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilSamba dancing for an hour on stilts? Yep! They did it.

6782182060 7efe3329ea z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilElaborate costumes cost a fortune and weigh a ton.

6928302387 c501eed157 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilInside the black boxes were piano keys.

6782182298 0911bb9085 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThese guys freaked me out a little.

6928302609 632b6df9b8 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThe Flag Carrying Couple present the colors of  São Clemente

6928357955 fe4d96587f z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilCheck out the cats on the float! Ahhhh, Brazil!

6928357793 aebb38f0c5 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilNotice the men pushing the float.

6782237622 7bbf6bb516 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6782237448 3ed2081f1f z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilInspired by La Cage Aux Folles

6782237272 768df6d937 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6928357103 a0a07a84ce z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilAnother flag carrying couple emulate Beauty and the Beast.

6782236954 8d33d7a532 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilLa Cage Aux Folles is also known as The Birdcage.

6928356765 3eea088e1e z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilPerhaps this is based on Hairspray?

6782236534 a949e3db57 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6782215756 01c45d89f2 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThe colorful wheels turned as the float moved.

6782215542 5df786aff2 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilRiding on top of a float is a huge honor.

6782215388 6cc8297eb7 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6928335147 1d578b0fb0 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilJudging by the costumes, I think this was based on Chicago or Cabaret.

6782215024 5930a3c10f z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilFloat performers hold on to a pole to maintain balance.

6928334771 90de68f6d7 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilWings with varying costumes dance in between floats.

 Drummers stop in front of the judges.

6928334539 95e2fa97c6 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6782214400 f9261f591a z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6782214226 e80530fd14 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilI’m not sure about this one. Swan Lake? Cinderella?

6928333893 4f1b3e4110 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6782213740 1c1c751193 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThe Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz rides above Emerald City.

6782213536 7045017f63 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThe cast of the Wizard of Oz

6782213344 93604329c4 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6928333043 baa4f9a805 z São Clemente: Broadway in Brazil

6782289640 fe074147cb z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilAn entire float was dedicated to NYC’s Broadway.

6928410077 205c425028 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilNotice the woman on stage to get a picture of how large the float is.

6928410457 8e4e8e7c19 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilNot leaving much to the imagination

6928410677 99d09ee010 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilI’ve never imagined Lady Liberty in a bikini! Only in Brazil!

6782290582 6e89d7172c z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilA wing representing Victor/Victoria

6782290770 b85b678bbf z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilI have no clue! Looks to be a space suit of some sort.

6928411197 d8020fd4c7 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilAny guesses here?

6928411349 ffc29df600 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilA tribute to 2010’s Tijuca´s front commission (thanks, Eric!)

6782291338 449b549585 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilThe last float in the hour-long show.

6782303476 256c2025c5 z São Clemente: Broadway in BrazilCan you imagine this balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?

What unfolded was an hour of elation, extravagance, eye-popping entertainment. I did have difficulty figuring out what some of the floats and costumes symbolized, but most were quite obvious. If São Clemente was historically one of the lowest-performing schools, I couldn’t imagine what the traditional powerhouses had in store. I didn’t think there could be anything better than what I’d just seen! There were five more schools waiting to prove me wrong.

São Clemente: 2012 Samba Song & Lyrics

 

Prepare o seu coração

É pura emoção

A sirene acabou de tocar(u-lá-lá)

A orquestra começou

E entoou o meu cantar

Um violino anuncia

Vem viajar na magia

Do meu cabaré, com samba no pé

Vem exibir, pode aplaudir

Será que é sonho meu?

“Sucesso aqui vou eu”

 

Põe a máscara pra mim

Vem comigo a hora é esta

Não sei viver sem você

És o artista, faz a nossa festa

 

De tudo aconteceu

Puxa! Aqui paris é avenida

Hoje o malandro sou eu

Vi a tristeza feliz da vida

Dei um susto o fantasma sumiu(búuu)

Sou irreverente

Se o samba empolgou, virou carnaval

Nossa aventura musical

Noviça dançou, ao som da canção

E conquistou meu coração

 

Tem bububu no bobobó

Sem sassarico é o “ó”

Bumbum de fora, pernas pro ar

Bravo !!! A São Clemente vai passar

 

Sit back and stay awhile