Wearing only body paint, sequins and smiles gorgeous dancers unveil to perform at the wild Rio de Janeiro street carnival in Brazil. The beautiful Samba dancers entertained crowds at the Banda da Rua do Mercado festival - one of the famous Brazilian carnival's street parties. Locals and tourists flock to the free street parties to see the parade floats, professional dancing and glittery costumes - or the lack of them. With more than 50, visitors this year the dancers kept locals and tourists entertained into the early hours. By Rachel Broady.
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But there was a hitch in the recent casting call. With two-thirds the population, it runs a close second to the US in its number of plastic surgeons and the number of surgeries performed, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Carnival itself is also about artifice.
Often known for elaborate and skimpy costumes, carnival celebrations also frequently take on serious subjects. Behind the glittery costumes and outlandish head-dresses, there was a message of resistance against right-wing populist president Jair Bolsanaro. This is what many street carnival groups have become in Brazil.
The two-night extravaganza began in the Sambodromo, where 72, spectators sat in sweltering heat, with many thousands more milling around outside selling drinks, putting on costumes or simply soaking up the atmosphere. Three of the samba schools taking openly critical stands against the political and corruption crisis that has engulfed Latin America's biggest country over the last four years. Even by Brazil's deteriorating standards, Rio de Janeiro is in particularly deep financial trouble, while crime in many areas is out of control. Two children were among the dead in shootings last week and a policeman was reported Sunday to have been shot dead in a suburb - the 16th officer killed already this year. So although 17, police have been deployed for the carnival, large parts of Rio, like Rocinha or City of God, are virtual no-go zones for both police and tourists. Locals in those areas, dubbed favelas, have to survive in the crossfire of drug gangs and the security forces.