Traditional Samba School
A traditional samba school is a community organization made up of mostly non-professionals who work year round on parading their members in a annual carnaval parade with a percussion unit, singers and musicians, dancers, floats, and many colorful costumes, largely based on the samba school in Brazil.
Points of Contention
Many groups outside of Brazil label themselves as samba schools although they are not samba schools in the tradition of what Brazilians define to be samba schools. This is also not isolated to groups themselves, but promoters. Promoters will often gather musicians, dancers, and costumes to make up the components of a samba school and then promote them as such. The reason groups and promoters outside of Brazil use the word "samba school" for their shows, events, or groups, is to "entice" the audience into thinking they are going to see a performance like those in Brazil. These performances lack the cohesiveness, unity, and energy of samba schools.
There are very few samba groups outside of Brazil that can truly be called a samba school, with the majority of them in Japan and Finland where there exists leagues or organized groups of traditional samba schools.
The minimum requirements for a traditional samba school must be done annually and are as follows:
- Pick a theme
- Write samba enredo (samba theme song) about that theme
- Create costumes in accordance with the theme
- Must contain the following groups: bateria, Cavaquinho and puxadores (samba singers), baianas, commissao de frente, numerous alas or costumes groups open to the public
- Construct and parade floats (this is not an absolute requirement given the limited resources of samba schools outside of Brazil but is aspired by all traditional samba school)
- Parade publicly