Sexy Hips & Life-Affirming Tricks
Even writing about dancing in the Rio Carnival creates this excited quickening, makes my tummy flutter. Everything about the sheer immensity of the event to the raw spectacular celebration rips at my heart and still to this day blows my mind.
A few months before my gorgeous Brazilian girlfriend Nekka had lost her mother and wanted ‘do carnival’ to restore her joy in life. She asked me to go with her, in the end we were three, Nekka, Susie and myself.
I had no idea Carnival was a competition. Each samba school or group of ‘processioners’ and floats are from a particular Brazilian region. The competition is for the chance of having another go at it on a second night win. to Our school Mangueira, is from an area in Rio de Janeiro.
Carnival is all about samba, and I never had! In the week before the big night we went along to Mangueira headquarters to practice; Old, young, men, women, drums the lot, practicing. I could not believe the speed of some of the girls hips!!!
Every single form of shiny, coloured material is used in the creation of incredible costumes and floats – think Sydney Mardi Gras x 1000, and all made by people living in the schools neighbourhood. We pick up ours, we’re to supply our own white g-string, white stockings, and white bra.
The night arrives!!!
For hours we mill around in a sort of ‘holding bay’ awaiting our turn to process the gigantic kilometres-long avenue of soccer stadium proportions. Mangueira school has around 70-100 dancers and drummers and there are over 70 schools that process over the several evenings of Carnival; It is hot and overwhelmingly monumental.
Another thing I didn’t realise is that each school has its own theme songs. You sing and dance samba as you process. The songs are all about love and life and I can say “Yes”, “No” and “Thankyou” in Portuguese, so I just pretend, but there’s also loads of statuesque posing, smiling and blowing kisses and I’m really great at all that!
Then we’re on, it’s happening, shiny, glitter, colours, people, everywhere you look, thousands watching in massive stands up either side, tremendous lights beaming down, boisterous sounds – drumming, singing, cheering it’s so full on, and I’m doing my damnedest to keep up when the pace-guys on either end of the lines of dancers give the sign to move forward or to samba on-the-spot, and I look over at Nekka, she is shining, smiling brilliance, we blow kiss after kiss and I honestly feel like every single person in this monumental crowd is cheering just for me!
Afterwards, when we’re done, we find out Mangueira is through to the finals, but I seriously cannot back-up again and do it all over. Instead the next night we watch from high up in stadium seats.
The winning school is declared based on the nights of procession. Mangueira comes second, and I swear its because on one of the nights, judges spied some blond Aussie-looking chick doing really crap samba and singing some nonsense. She was however, blowing phenomenal kisses.
The experience of dancing in the Rio Carnival set me on a ‘get sexy hips’ mission! Join me on a journey of yoga, mindful movement & other life-affirming sexy hip tricks!!!