Tuesday, February 8, 2011

At the City of Samba, the dream went up in smoke

Rio de Janeiro Correspondent - "We will march anyway, in shorts, T-shirt and glitter", "Yes, we dance barefoot if necessary." These heartfelt cries sprang, among many others, between sobs and complaints in the crowd who looked devastated, Monday, February 7, the charred walls where his dream had gone up in smoke: a huge fire, at first view accidental origin, ended several workshops to ravage the city of samba, which are manufactured tanks and carnival costumes.
Three major schools of samba, the twelve invited to perform on the Avenue of the Sambodrome March 6 and 7, were struck: Uniao da Ilha Grande Rio and Portela. For the latter, the most affected, the fire was a total disaster. She has lost 90% of its materials, highly flammable seven tanks - eight - and 4000 costumes were to be distributed to the dancers. Damage estimated at more than 3 million.
The other two schools have lost a total of over 5000 costumes and sculptures. But their tanks, with one exception, have escaped the flames. Some of them still unfinished, were left in a hurry warehouses.
A year's work
Inaugurated in 2006, the City of Samba includes a dozen huge warehouses, one for each major school. "Here, warns a registration, the carnival lasts all year." For at least nine months, hundreds of little hands carefully execute the project envisioned by the "carnavalesco", the artistic director of the procession. During the weeks before the biggest party the world, the workforce is made perfect. Women cut, paste, embroidered paper, crepes and tissues. Men pound or weld torch in a strong smell of paint. Each school operates as a big workshop with its production lines. Almost a year working for a few hours of glory.
What happened on Monday at dawn? The investigation will tell, perhaps. According to some employees, the fire-suppression system would not work. The commander of the firefighters also criticized the presence of a barbecue inside a building.
At four weeks of the carnival, the three schools will have difficulty unlucky to rebuild their show even though their rivals have offered to help. The handicap will be as much psychological as financial. It will re-mobilize teams for all is, again, ready on time.
The mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, asked that the two schools that reach bottom of the ranking are not, as is customary, demoted to "split" below. Which would lead to injustice by preventing two schools postulants, and have nothing to do with the disaster, in turn join the elite of the samba.

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