Czech dancer wins place in Rio carnival parade competition at the Sambódromo

Viktor Polášek, photo: David Koubek

Taking part in the carnival parade in Rio is an unforgettable experience and all you need to do is don a mask and costume and join in the revelry. But only the very best dancers have the privilege of dancing at the Sambódromo. Among the few foreigners to join this elite group of Brazilian dancers for the 2017 parade competition was Czech actor and dancer Viktor Polášek.

Viktor Polášek,  photo: David Koubek
Tension was high in Rio as the dancers representing the Manguiera School of Samba, the 2016 campions of the competition, prepared to dance for the crowd. Among the group of skilled Brazilian dancers gearing up for the big moment was a young Czech actor and dancer. Viktor Polášek told Czech Radio that dancing at the Sambódromo was a dream come true.

“I won a contest to take part which is absolutely incredible. All these fabulous Brazilian dancers and a Czech guy gets a break. I’m absolutely thrilled.”

This is no exaggerated modesty. The highly respected Manguiera, Brazil’s most popular samba school, has the pick of the country’s very best dancers and the Rio carnival parade competition is a showcase of its talent where foreign dancers rarely make an appearance. Viktor Polášek says that despite this he was immediately taken on board by the team.

“The funny thing is they had no idea I was Czech. When we started training and the team first got together everyone seemed to know everyone else. When I said I was Czech and had lived in Brazil for five years they stared at me in disbelief.”

Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro,  photo: CTK
The competition itself is preceded by four months of rigorous training where Viktor Polášek proved his worth getting a prominent position in the front line of the dance choreography, the work of choreographer Junior Scapin. Titled “Only with the Help of the Saint”’ the theme played on Brazil’s multi-faith traditions and superstitions. Viktor Polášek says that he is incredibly proud to be able to dance under the pink-and-green flag of the Manguiera School of Samba and feels 100 percent Brazilian already. His team is last in line in a 15 hour dance marathon and, when it is all over, Viktor says that no matter the outcome this has been an experience he will never forget.

“We are thrilled and absolutely exhausted. The crowd loved our performance and I think we gave them a great show. The four months of training were definitely worth it.”