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March 7, 2011
2011 Carnival parades in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Strutting in a rainbow of glittering colors, Rio's samba groups opened two days of Carnival parades with a dazzling show that included a rousing welcome for one of the elite bands that lost most of their elaborate costumes and floats in a fire last month. The Portela group made a dramatic entrance into the throbbing Sambadrome stadium late Sunday, its 300-strong percussion section abruptly quieting its thundering drums and crouching down in a moment of silence for its losses in the fire.
The fire in early February ripped through warehouses where Portela and two other elite samba groups were preparing for Carnival, incinerating more than 8,000 feather and glitter costumes and many of the big, meticulously decorated floats. Once the shock passed, however, it became clear the 2011 Carnival would be marked more than ever by the festival's quintessential ability to bring hope and happiness, even if fleeting, to those who have little. It also steeled samba group members' fierce allegiances in a city where fans are as devoted to their groups as they are to their soccer teams. (45 images)

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The Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school parades during Carnival at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd


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Revelers of the Unidos da Tijuca samba school sing and dance during the first night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro on March 7, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Vanderlei Almeida



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Portela samba school dancers parade through the Sambadrome during Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Unidos da Tijuca samba school dancers parade through the Sambadrome during carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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The Vila Isabel samba school performs during a carnival parade in the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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Vila Isabel samba school dancers perform during a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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A performer from the Mangueira samba school parades during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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An overall view of performers of Sao Clemente samba school singing and dancing during the first night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Vanderlei Almeida



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Revelers of Sao Clemente samba school perform during the first night of carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Vanderlei Almeida



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The Queen Drums of Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school, Luiza Brunet, performs at the Sambadrome during the first night of carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Vanderlei Almeida



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Revelers of Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school perform at the Sambadrome during the first night of carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Antonio Scorza



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Dancers of Sao Clemente samba school perform during the first night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Vanderlei Almeida



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Revelers of Portela samba school perform during the first night of carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Vanderlei Almeida



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A performer dances at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Silvia Izquierdo



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Sao Clemente samba school dancers perform in their carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Dancers perform on their Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school float during a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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A dancer performs on the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school float during a carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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A dancer performs on the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school float during their carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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Imperatriz Leopoldinense dancers perform during their carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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An Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school dancer performs during a Carnival parade in the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Performers from the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school parade through the Sambadrome during Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school dancers parade through the Sambadrome during Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school dancers perform in their carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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A Portela samba school dancer performs during a Carnival parade through the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Monday, March 7, 2011. AP / Felipe Dana



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An Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school dancer performs in the group's carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday March 7, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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Sao Clemente samba school dancers perform at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Rodrigo Abd



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A reveller of the Aguia de Ouro samba school dances during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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revelers from the Aguia de Ouro samba school sing and dance during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Children revelers of Unidos de Vila Maria samba school sing and dance atop of a float during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Revelers of Unidos de Vila Maria samba school sing and dance atop of a float during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Revelers of Gavioes da Fiel samba school sing and dance atop of a float during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Aguia de Ouro samba school dancers perform on their float during carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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Members of the Mocidade Alegre samba school march in their parade during carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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Dancers from the Vila Maria samba school perform on their float during carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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A dancer performs during the parade of Vila Maria samba school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday March 6, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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Brazilian model Sabrina Sato sings and dances ahead of drummers of Gavioes da Fiel samba school during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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A drummer performs during the parade of Mocidade Alegre samba school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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A reveler of Gavioes da Fiel samba school sings and dances during the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, early on March 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Revelers of Rosas de Ouro samba school perform during the opening night of parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo early on March 5, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Children revelers of Nene de Vila Matilde samba school get ready at a concentration area before the start of the second night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on March 5, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Revelers of Unidos do Peruche samba school sing and dance during the opening night of parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on March 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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A dancer performs during the parade of Tom Maior samba school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, March 5, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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A dancer performs during the parade of Rosas de Ouro samba school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, March 5, 2011. AP / Andre Penner



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Revelers of Unidos do Peruche samba school sing and dance during the opening night of parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, late on March 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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Revelers of Academicos do Tucuruvi samba school perform during the opening night of parades at the Sambadrome, as part of Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo late on March 4, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Mauricio Lima



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