Mestre Sala – Samba great number Definition in the Carnaval of Brazil
In this article we will describe an especially characteristic component within the Brazilian Carnaval festivity: the Mestre-Sala translated from Portuguese to Samba-great number. Below, you will understand why this iconic component is able to symbolize the essence and honor of the Carnaval parade culture in Brazil. This figure represents the highest distinction to individuals who devote their career to Samba-Schools. Let´s see below some of most important Mestre Sala´s attributions and characteristics.
The Mestre Sala / Samba great number has a basic presence within the Brazilian parades, and without them, the festivity simply would not be complete or already exist. His main artistic function during the parade whilst courting his flag-bearing partner is to protect the Porta-bandeira (Flag- Bearer) and the banner of the samba school. Symbolically, the Mestre-Sala carries a handkerchief or fan. Carnaval historians observe that in the past, samba-hosts would carry razors and small knives which were hid within the fans/handkerchiefs and freely used if someone tried to steal the samba-school banner.
The second distinguishing character of the Mestre-sala is to draw everyone’s attention to his protegee and make sure the samba-school banner/flag itself is clearly seen by carnival judges and media. His mission is complete when the Porta-Bandeira Flag Bearer is positively evaluated and samba-school´s banner highlighted. Unlike other samba dancers, his choreography is perfected and delicate, resembling the court dances of France aristocratic palaces. Similarly to the Flag Bearer, the Mestre Sala´s choreography is especially elegant. The samba-great number costume also resembles those elegant clothing worn on European mid 18th century Carnivals and saloons, including a wig sometimes.
The Mestre – Sala / Flag Bearer seen at Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo parades have a history of at the minimum 15 to 20 years of samba dance practices and presentations. As soon as they are identified by the samba school directors as talented dancers, they receive a special attention and are trained specifically for these roles. Some of them get their first chance to join an official parade as early as 15, 16 years old, as “third” or “second” samba-hosts.. Really talented samba dancers can become the official samba great number number “1” before they are 25 years old, on average. If they reach this disputed post, they will naturally acquire glory, high social position within the Carnaval community and top salaries.
Now lets take a look at other interesting details of the Samba great number position:
* Samba great number performance is officially evaluated in the Carnival contest in Rio by a criterion called “Porta Bandeira e Mestre Sala” It is so important that it is used as a tie-breaker criterion.
* Today, due to the professionalization of Brazilian Carnival, we can find specific teachings for this kind of choreography ( Samba-great number & Porta-Bandeira routines). In samba academies, they can enhance their dance routines, artistic, and already acting skills.
* In a major samba-school parade, you can have up to 3 couples of Mestre-Sala / Porta-Bandeira per school. The official carnival judges naturally only rate the best associate and logically the most qualified of the school, called appropriately the “first associate”.
* The second and already third couples also play meaningful roles during the official contest. They are the future generations of these specific roles and take the opportunity of the official events to gain experience, appeal, graciousness so that hopefully one day they can become “associate number 1”.
* Today, the contracts of these professionals have increased considerably in terms of pay, since samba-schools will always try to have the best Samba Hosts, to make sure they acquire the perfect score for this contest criterion.
* The Mestre Sala / Samba great number costume can also cost up to US$ 15.000,00
* Some of the top samba great number are fiercely disputed to be hired by the samba-schools