Samba magic to dazzle with colourful show

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am

Brazilian dancers promise sizzling performance with hot rhythms, colourful plumes and costumes with a Vegas touch

Take six beautiful dancers in dazzling costumes, add some samba music and you've got a winner - an attraction that will liven up any parade and bring a taste of the real Brazilian carnival spirit to Lan Kwai Fong.

Brazilian dancer Marisa Rabi said it was a mix of samba rhythms and glamour which made her Brazilian samba dancers one of the star attractions of the carnival parade, to be held twice a day throughout the two-day event.

This year the troupe features six Brazilian women dancers in full authentic carnival dress and one male dancer, who specialises in tambourine acrobatics and who will lead the parade.

'He throws the tambourine in the air. He has one in his mouth and one in each hand. It's quite fun to watch,' said Ms Rabi, the choreographer with the Hong Kong-based Made In Brazil group.

One of the key elements in any parade were the costumes, which she brought in especially from Brazil, Ms Rabi said, adding that some of the dresses were tailor-made after she sent designs to experts in carnival costume in Brazil, while others were second-hand, which she picked up after the Rio carnival ended.

'The costumes are so exotic and so creative. When we do the Lan Kwai Fong carnival and we go out on the streets, everybody says: 'Wow'. They love to see the colours, the head pieces, and shoulder pieces. It is all very elaborate and very beautiful.'

In the Brazilian carnivals, it is the norm for each participating samba school to adopt a different theme every year for the costumes with thousands of people taking part. 'There you will have 3,000 people from one school taking part. In Hong Kong there are only six of us, so ... our theme is Brazilian,' she said.

This year the costumes had a touch of Vegas, dripping in faux jewels and plumes of colourful feathers, but were faithful to the Brazilian tradition, Ms Rabi said.

'One of the most important parts of the costume is the feathers, which are traditionally a part of Brazilian carnival costume. A costume should have lots of feathers and be colourful. The combination and end result is stunning,' she said.

Some of the costumes, particularly the shoulder pieces, could be quite heavy and restrictive, Ms Rabi said. However, the rest was kept light and free-flowing to allow the dancers the movement they needed to keep pace with the samba rhythms.

In Brazil, they tend to be even more revealing, with dancers sometimes going topless or almost naked, except for head pieces, body paint and glitter.

'That's not very Hong Kong,' Ms Rabi said.

'They are not so open-minded here and so we have adapted them. They are still fantastic, but not quite so revealing.'