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Rio Carnival

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Dancer Quiela in costume for the Rio Carnival
Dancer Quiela in costume for the Rio Carnival Photography by Cecilia Duarte

For the four days before the desiccated gloom of Lent descends, Rio de Janeiro explodes into a furnace of colour, feathers and gyrating forms. This is the famous carnival where the rival samba schools of Brazil take over the streets...

For the four days before the desiccated gloom of Lent descends, Rio de Janeiro explodes into a furnace of colour, feathers and gyrating forms. This is the famous Rio Carnival where the rival samba schools of Brazil take over the streets in a keenly fought competition, weilding their weapons of vivid colour, extravagant excess and the loudest of music.

First staged as long ago as 1723, the Rio Carnival is now the biggest of its kind in the world, hosting up to two million people per day out on the streets. Featuring highly decorated floats, teams of dancers, choreographed routines and booming samba tunes, the processions make their way around the city in riotous style. Dancer Andrea, photographed here, states, “For me Carnival is the whole year. It’s when you show off and enjoy samba with everyone – with everyone in the same vibe – and it’s amazing!”

"For me Carnival is the whole year. It’s when you show off and enjoy samba with everyone – with everyone in the same vibe – and it’s amazing!”

This year, to celebrate the carnival, we asked photographer Cecilia Duarte to photograph a few of the dancers who were preparing to perform, as well as shots of Rio itself as it girded itself for the annual expression of joy, vibrant colour and excess.

Text by Tisk Wrigley
Coordination by Olena Slyesarenko

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