Known for its unique and enticing style of samba, the Portela Samba School, Gremio Recreativo Escola de Samba Portela in Portuguese, is one of the oldest and most successful Samba School in Rio de Janeiro, and is from the Madureira Neighborhood of Northern Rio. While it has gone by many names before officially becoming Portela in 1930, the school has maintained its official symbol, the giant eagle, which serves as a symbol of honor and pride. The school holds the record for the most Special Group Championship titles, at an impressive 21 (1935, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1951, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1980, and 1984). For a short period of time in the 1980s the school lost its status as a Samba School superpower, and many speculated that Portela was only in the Special Group because of its historical significance, popularity, and tradition. However, in recent years the school has regained its prominence, placing second in 1995 and fourth in 2008. The school boasts an impressive following of diverse people, ranging from residents of Rio’s favelas to Brazilian singers like Gilberto Gil and Marisa Monte, to international superstars like pop idol Ricky Martin, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and record producer Quincy Jones.
Service Projects: Portela invests heavily into its community and has a clear mission statement: “Weaving the destinies of the club with the community that surrounds it, the Department of Social Projects [of GRES Portela] has a set mission: to invest and transform the Portela Samba School into a radiating center of social projects, culture, and sports in order to progress and elevate the community.” The Portela Samba School sponsors community centers that offer formal education and health services. What’s more, Portela is one of the only Samba Schools to provide a wing (or ala) for its special needs constituents, which is always an emotional part of the parade and brings awareness to the needs of people with disabilities world-wide. Furthermore, through training and preparations for the annual Rio Carnival Samba Parade, Portela is responsible for creating a diverse workforce, with a conception of citizenship and ethics that were previously unknown to them.
Portela will parade live through the Sambadrome on Carnival! Book your Rio Carnival Tickets Today!!
Also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
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