Behind the scenes at the Rio samba parade

World Today

The Carnival party is on in Rio, with massive parades, lots of dancing, and thousands of spectators. CCTV’s Stephen Gibbs reported this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Two hours before the big night of Carnival, torrential rain hit the main parade. Yet most performers put a brave face on it. Serious drought conditions in Brazil’s southeast have officials calling off Carnival celebrations in around 15 cities.

In addition to Brazilians who take part in the festivities, every year thousands of foreigners also perform.

Behind the scenes at the Rio samba parade

Behind the scenes at the Rio samba parade

The Carnival party is on in Rio, with massive parades, lots of dancing, and thousands of spectators. CCTV's Stephen Gibbs reported this story from Rio de Janeiro.

Gary, who works at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., had no plans to come to Brazil until two weeks ago. Then he met a Brazilian woman, and now he finds himself about to have a walk-on role at the world’s biggest party.

“I’ve never been to Rio, and what a great time to come, to Carnival,” said Gary, who did not give his last name. “I have been given strict instructions about what not to do!”

Each of the 12 finalist samba schools parading over two nights involve as many as 4,000 performers. Judges allow each school 80 minutes to parade the 700 meters-long Sambadrome, in front of an audience of thousands.

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Photo gallery: Rio Carnival selfies

The Carnival party is on in Rio, with massive parades, lots of dancing, and thousands of spectators. CCTV shows you some of the selfies from the celebration.