Samba dancers took over President Vargas Avenue in Rio de Janeiro for 14 hours on Saturday (3 March), despite torrential rainstorms, to stage the highlight of the annual Rio carnival.
LV & CU Illuminations, including peacock theme (2 shots)
TV Samba schools dance in circles beneath lights (2 shots)
TV Band (2 shots)
BV Samba schools (3 shots)
TV Crowd with children dancing as they watch (2 shots)
SV Illuminations and girls dancing (2 shots)
CU Two girls sharing lolly-ice
CU & SV Girl dancing beneath illuminations (3 shots)
GV Samba dancers beneath illuminations
Initials ES. 1710 ES. 1737
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Background: Samba dancers took over President Vargas Avenue in Rio de Janeiro for 14 hours on Saturday (3 March), despite torrential rainstorms, to stage the highlight of the annual Rio carnival.
About 25,000 dancers from samba schools splashed undaunted through ankle-deep water as 36,000 spectators huddled beneath umbrellas and plastic sheeting. The dancers traditionally come from Rio's poorer districts and they spend many months preparing their sumptuous consumes.
The dancers slithered along the wet street, often falling while performing intricate samba steps. Their make-up ran and their costumes clung to them under the downpour.
The samba parade is the highlight of the four-day carnival. The festivities began at midnight on Friday (2 March) with the crowning of Rio's first ever Negro carnival king, Elson Macula, a burly army sergeant.
Rising costs and stricter police control have been blamed for a decline in this year's carnival.
SYNOPSIS: A giant peacock depicted in coloured lights is the theme of this year's carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
On Saturday, some 25,000 samba dancers jigged their way down President Vargas Avenue, despite heavy rain, which dogged their performance. The parade -- with its sumptuous costumes -- is traditionally the highlight of the Rio carnival. The bulk of the dancers come from the city's poorer districts and spend many months preparing for their night of glory.
The four-day carnival began at midnight on Friday, with the crowning of Rio's first Negro king, a burly army sergeant. The rain came on the heels of criticism that the carnival is declining. Rising costs and stricter police control over the merry-making both had a dampening effect on the carnival.
About 36,000 spectators turned out to watch the samba dancers. Many sheltered beneath umbrellas, others used plastic sheeting to keep off the periodic downpours. But the music was infectious, and many just couldn't resist joining in.
The dancers' costumes clung to them in the rain and their feet often slipped on the wet road, but they kept dancing. And they kept on dancing for fourteen hours.