Category: Rio de Janeiro

When we think of Brazil, we think of soccer, over the top Carnival celebrations, samba dance, Bossa Nova music, and unfortunately, lots of crime. The 21st century, however,  has brought many changes to this giant of Latin American countries. These days, Brazilians are preparing for two huge international sporting events…The 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The motto for the Olympics is “live your passion.”

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It’s that time again: Ash Wednesday is on the horizon, the season of Lent is calling for sacrifice, and Rio’s Carnival celebration is in full swing. Hundreds of thousands of spectators come to watch the dancers strut their stuff and take part in the world’s sexiest party, but most of them must stay on the sidelines during the parades, serious competitions for the 12 top samba schools vying for the crown each year.

But that didn’t deter Nicole Zimmerman, a Brazilian-born American who danced her way into a samba school to experience Carnival from the inside out. She tells her story in the LA Times.

If you can’t get to Rio for tonight’s “special groups” parade (the second of the big competition) you haven’t missed out. The top six samba clubs march again Feb. 20 in the Champions Parade.

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