Proving that white men REALLY can’t dance, Karl Pilkington takes on the challenge of learning how to samba ahead of the Rio Carnival…
Karl Pilkington or no Karl Pilkington, this year’s Rio Carnival is already up and running, having kicked off last Friday with the crowning of the Carnival King ceremony. Under a shower of confetti and to a soundtrack of Rio’s distinctive energetic drumming, the newly crowned Milton Rodrigues received the glitter-coated keys to the city from Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes. As Carnival King, (King Momo) Milton now precides over five chaotic days of music, parties and parades.
A total of 424 bands and “blocos” (wandering street parties) registered to perform at 2011′s carnival. In the run-up to this week’s festivities, they’ve been parading all over town, drumming up support with Carnival tunes and raucous singing and dancing.
Rio Carnival is probably most famous around the world for its Samba Parade, a loud and colourful display of dancing by the Rio samba schools. The two most popular days of the festival are Carnival Sunday and Monday.
The history of Rio’s Carnival stretches all the way back to the 1720s when immigrants from Portugal brought over a festival called Entrudo. Mostly it involved throwing water, mud and food at people, but by the 1800s, samba dancing had made its way to the heart of the festival.
The growth of the city’s Samba schools, the first of which were founded in 1928, played a crucial role in moulding the festival into the perfectly choreographed event as we know it today.
These days, the Rio Carnival attracts some 575,000 revellers from all over the world.