Unidos da Tijuca
Originating from the neighborhood of Santo Cristo, GRES Unidos da Tijuca is the third oldest samba school in Brazil and was the first school to put samba dancers on its floats, referring to them as “human sculptures”. The Samba School’s founders wanted to defend the traditional roots of Brazilian folklore and also to fight for important social causes — struggles that have always been present in the hearts and souls of their ancestors who suffered and were purged of cultural expression after samba was banned because of its connection to African religious traditions.
Unidos da Tijuca is recognized as the school that pays the most homage to Brazil’s background as a Portuguese colony. Having yellow and blue as its official school colors adds a vibrant and regal feeling to the magnificent costumes. With the peacock as its official symbol, Unidos da Tijuca is known for its use of feathers that add an exotic and flamboyant element to their performances.
Unidos da Tijuca is known as one of the most tolerant of all the samba schools, and is accepting of anybody who wishes to join the school irrespective of religious, social, or economic background. Its samba hall is one of the most popular on samba nights, partly due to its easily accessible location. The school’s samba hall is especially popular among people from Rio de Janeiro’s gay community. Though the school is old, it remained largely unnoticed until 2004 when, in a surprise to judges and audiences alike, the GRES Unidos da Tijuca won the hearts of the crowds through its creative and innovative artistic vision that was viewed by some as controversial. With a strong financial backing, Unidos da Tijuca has been on a hot streak in recent years, and were the 2010 and 2012 overall Rio Carnival Champions — and everybody is eagerly awaiting the school’s Rio Carnival 2013 performance!
Service Projects: In addition to development and social programs in its home neighborhood, Unidos da Tijuca Samba School is known as the green Samba School because of its a heavy emphasis on environmental sustainability. Each year the school’s the average rate of recycling increases by around 40%. The sculptures, rather than being quickly discarded, are reused in cultural projects that enrich the community.
Like the sculptures, costumes are equally or more important for schools with fewer resources. Parts used in the carnival of previous years are donated to new schools in other states of Brazil and Portugal. Feathers are important to the volume and lightness of the school’s performances; but at the end of the event, they are selected and carefully removed. After the manual process, the material is recolored to suit the needs of the following year, allowing considerable cost savings in the production process. What’s more, the iron the school uses to portray its allegories are largely used for recycling.
For purposes of sustainability, the rooms of the headquarters of the Unidos da Tijuca Samba School are lit with low-energy light bulbs, and the buildings were built from the priming used on floats. Industrial waste is collected by specialized firms to be disposed of without harming the environment. For Unidos da Tijuca, being an environmentally friendly samba school serves two functions. While it contributes to the betterment of society as a whole, the institution itself also benefits. Unidos da Tijuca bases its sustainable management efforts on three factors: environmental, social and economic issues.
Watch Unidos da Tijuca in their Sambadrome Parade performance! Book your Rio Carnival Tickets Today!!
Also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
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