All photos on this page copyright © Douglas Engle

Overview of Sambódromo © Douglas Engle

Starting on the Carnival Saturday the different Samba schools of Rio begin to compete in the samba parade stadium Sambódromo. On Sunday and Monday the 12 best schools parade, starting in the evening and finishing early in the morning.

Ala © Douglas Engle

Each Samba school will have around 20 sections or alas, each member of these wear a costume combining with the schools particular theme (enredo) for that year. The combination of colors and shapes is dazzling to the eye.

Rainha da Bateria © Douglas Engle

The Queen of the Battery or Rainha da Bateria is an image spread all over the world. Dressed in fantastic peacock like outfits they lead the close to 300 strong drum section through Sambódromo.

Happy Woman © Douglas Engle

In the “open” sections everyone can buy a Carnival costume and participate in the parade. It is a fantastic experience to be able to enter this ocean of creativity and color.

Salgueiro Dance Floor © Douglas Engle

Starting from August you can go to rehearsal parties of the more famous Samba schools. There you can experience the powerful sound of the drum section and also see how the Samba school actually is a community with most people from the favelas.

Palco Salgueiro © Douglas Engle

Being selected for the more difficult roles in the parade is a great honour. Here you can see how some girls are trying to win the approval of the judges in Salgueiro Samba School. You´ll never see hips move any faster!

DNA Car Unidos da Tijuca © Douglas Engle

Each school also have the right to have a certain number of cars or floats, these elaborate constructions probably form the most spectacular elements in the parade. This DNA car became the talk of the town because of it´s inventiveness 2005.

Passista © Douglas Engle

Images of Rio Carnival girls wearing almost no clothes are getting less common. The parade has turned less touristy and nowadays it is almost only the so called passistas you will see like this.

Velha Guarda Portela © Douglas Engle

All schools are proud of their legacy and here are two members of the Velha Guarda of the very famous Portela Samba School. Members of this “Old Guard” are honorary members chosen for their contributions.

All photos on this page copyright © Douglas Engle