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Vila Isabel samba school crowned Rio Carnival champion

Published on Feb 14, 2013 5:58 AM
A reveller from the Vila Isabel samba school participates in the annual Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome Feb 12, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - The Vila Isabel samba school was crowned champion of the 2013 Rio Carnival on Wednesday for its parade highlighting Brazil's agricultural might as "the world's breadbasket."

In a feverishly awaited verdict, a 40-member jury gave the Rio school, considered a cradle of samba music in Brazil, the third title of its 65-year-old history.

Vila Isabel received 299.7 points, edging the popular Beija-Flor with 299.4 and sparking scenes of jubilation at its northern Rio headquarters. The 40 judges gave their verdict based on choreography, music, dancing and creativity.

With its 3,800 dancers and seven giant fantasy floats, Vila Isabel was the last of 12 elite samba schools to dazzle a capacity crowd early Tuesday at the 72,000-seat Sambodrome, the parade ground designed by the late star architect Oscar Niemeyer.

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