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It's Carnival time in Rio

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It's Carnival time in Rio

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REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
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Rio de Janeiro's Carnival officially kicked off on Friday (February 9) with the city's famed samba schools parading through the Sambadrome stadium.

The competition begins. Teams will be judged on choreography, atmosphere, organisation, and singing. Samba schools take it seriously, and a first place means bragging rights among the city's poor communities.

Briton Samantha Flores will be the lead dancer for one of Rio's main samba schools, Imperio da Tijuca. No foreigner had ever led a school in the role of lead dancer, or "musa abre alas," in the event's 78-year history.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world are expected to flock to Rio to watch the processions.

The festivities run until Tuesday (February 13) and the winners' parade will be held next Saturday (February 17).