Joyful Apocalypse,

February 16, 2015

Carnival in Rio.

We were on our feet dancing for the entire performance of the Mocidade Samba School at the Sambodormo in Rio for Carnival.  This group was clearly a crowd favorite.  When they were announced thousands of people with the school’s flag started waving them and chanting in the stands across from us.  It was magic.

It helped that we could understand Mocidade’s theme.  The first float had a screen which said, in Portuguese and in English “If the world is ending tomorrow and you have only 24 hours, what would you do?”  Although the rest was in Portuguese it was pretty easy to follow.  It started with the apocalypse, a float with a toppling Chrysler Building followed by a float with world landmarks, including the Tower of Pisa and Big Ben, made out of LED screens with changing images, the image of the landmark, the logo of the samba school, fire, and destruction.

Dancers in fireproof suits ran in and out of the float, at times setting themselves on fire and sambaing until the flames went out.  Small floats looking like alien fighting machines blew smoke and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse sambaed by.  Then came what you do, with floats or dancers depicting each activity.  It was funny and whimsical, a wry commentary on the human condition.  Consult Nostradamus, with a whole troupe of Nosterdami doing the samba, become a Hindu because for them there is no end, pray to God, make a pact with the devil, shop, make a baby, drive a race car (did you know racing cars can samba?), become a kamikaze, go surfing, check into a hospice, work out at the gym, do a public strip tease, attend an orgy, and of course dance.  It was the most joyous and hilarious apocalypse imaginable.  The last float was salvation, people dressed in green dancing on and around a green and renewed planet.

This is an edited excerpt from the last post.  For more on this years Sunday Carnival Sambodormo parade click here.

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