Belgian samba dancer takes part in the famous Rio carnival for the first time


Elise Batselé from Wavre has been fascinated by Latin America and Latin dancing since she was a little girl. Samba has been her firm favourite since she was 16. Unfortunately, there are not many opportunities to learn this discipline in Belgium, so the young woman had to train abroad, in London, Berlin and Paris. Her tenacity paid off, as thanks to a demonstration video, she was selected by one of the oldest and most prestigious samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, Império da Tijuca, to dance in the city's carnival and take part in the competition.

The internal organisation of a samba school is focused entirely on the production of a full show for the next carnival, but in practice, it can carry out social roles (assistance to the most vulnerable, community education, employment in various areas linked to the production of costumes, floats and musical instruments).

Every year since 1932, there has been a competition between the different schools, in front of a jury which awards them points. Fourteen samba schools will parade at the Sambadrome with great pomp, amidst a deluge of glitz and sequins. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival officially started on Friday 9 February and lasts until 17 February, during which time the city will welcome the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to witness the parades and take part in the street processions.