How Carnival Works

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Author's Note: How Carnival Works

Doubtless one of the most entertaining topics to research, Carnival was also one of the toughest when it came to historical accuracy, and in several accounts of the festival's early years I came across the debunking of a pretty common tale about the famous Copacabana.

"They" often say Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced their very first dance together at the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro while filming "Flying Down to Rio" (1933). Some even say they met there. In fact, according to Turner Movie Classics, Fred and Ginger danced on set in California, not in Rio, and had probably danced together before, considering they'd previously dated in real life.

The movie did feature on-location background shots, though. So Rio is in the picture. (Could be helpful in a game of Trivial Pursuit!)

Related Articles


  • Brazil Carnival. "Carnival History." (Jan. 11, 2013)
  • Brazilian Travel Centre (BTC). "Salvador and Micareta (Carnaval throughout the year)." (Jan. 8, 2013)
  • Ipanema. "All About Carnival in Rio." (Jan. 5, 2013)
  • Leah Travels. "A Gringa's Guide to Rio's Carnival Parades." Feb. 25, 2012. (Jan. 8, 2013)
  • Rio. "Rio Carnival." (Jan. 5, 2013)
  • Rio Carnival. "2013 Rio Carnival." (Jan. 5, 2013)
  • Rio Carnival. "Rio Carnival Balls." (Jan. 8, 2013)
  • Rosenfield, Karissa. "Rio Carnival 2012 Kicks Off In Newly Renovated Sambadrome "The Huffington Post. Feb. 21, 2012. (Jan. 11, 2013)