Started in 1973 by splitters from the smallish samba school Camisa Verde e Branco, the closest Tom Maior has come to a big-boy championship was coming fifth in 2008. In this year’s entry, the school plans on taking the crowd on a spirited journey to the tourist destination of the spectacular Iguaçu waterfalls, on the Brazil-Argentina border.
The basics The rehearsals are a chance for anyone planning to parade to learn that year’s chosen song (samba-enredo), for the drummers to master their rhythms, for the dancers to get in step, and for the neighbourhoods to start the celebrations. But don’t let the term ‘rehearsal’ confuse you – a samba school ensaio is as much a party as a chance for the school to practice, and everyone is welcome for a cover fee. They can be crowded, sometimes slightly chaotic events, so take care to work out beforehand how you’re getting home, and leave valuables behind.