English Roses to Samba Goddesses

All they kept asking was, could we go back and do it all again right now?

UK girls Vanessa and Sarah met whilst travelling in Rio and are no strangers to adventures in Brazil. They both have spent considerable time in Brazil over the years doing everything from trekking in the Amazon to learning to surf on the shores of Bahia, however, the one thing they had never managed to do was take part in the Rio carnival parade.

Cue Experience Carnival to help the girls achieve the sparkly dream!

After our initial consultancy calls whilst they were still in the UK, they decided to parade with the reigning champions Viradouro in stunning red costumes. To fully immerse themselves in the experience, they arrived two weeks before Carnival began, in time to take part in Viradouro´s final preparations.  They began with a course of samba lessons with Viradouro’s top Muse Belinda Delfim helping them to get the basic steps, interpret the music and understand performance for when they are up on the float.

With their samba ready to go it was next time to visit the City of Samba and Viradouro´s base where the magic is created and they produce all the floats and costumes, and it was there that they finally got to see their costumes for the first time at the final fitting. To say they were excited is an understatement, there was a lot of excitement screaming some tears and promises that they were not taking it off until the parade – a little tricky considering it was over a week to go!

Next up was Viradouro´s technical rehearsal at the Sambadromo where Vanessa and Sarah got to parade along with the rest of the school as the lights and sound were tested and the stands full of supporters came to cheer on their school. On arrival at the staging area, they were given their official shirts for the rehearsal and it was at that moment that they began to feel part of the team. On went, the show, and they headed off singing and dancing their way down the Avenida with thousands of others from the samba school and emotions ran high.

Fresh from the high of the technical rehearsal it was hardly any downtime and it was time for the big night itself.  The time had come for our English roses to metamorphose into samba goddesses. The ladies were picked up by executive transport and taken to a hair and make studio where notorious carnival make-up artist Willian Xavier worked on getting the queens and Musas of carnival ready for their close-ups. On arrival at the studio, the glam squad primed and preened until they were parade ready – red smoky glittery eye make-up to match the costumes and lashings of glitter spray all over their bodies.

Neither of them has ever had a professional photo shoot so as they stepped into their costumes fully made up and studio lights went on, they felt like they had found their samba goddesses within and were ready for giving it their all in the parade. As they walked down to the staging area with huge red feathered headpieces and sparkly capes people would stop them and ask to have their photo taken – the transformation to celebrity status was complete! They had never experienced anything like it and the parade hadn’t even started.

As they arrived in the staging area, they began to see other girls in the same costume and instant friends were made as they all grouped in front of their float taking pictures, adjusting outfits and giving tips on the best way to fix your headpiece. Before they knew it they were off, heading to the most exhilarating experience of their lifetime, as the champion school for this year the crowd were going crazy as the parade went past singing and cheering as they went.

As the Experience Carnival hosts went to meet them at the end of the parade to help them off the float, they had both lost their voice from so much singing. They were crying from the exhilaration and had blisters on both feet from dancing but all they kept asking was, could we go back and do it all again right now?

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