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Spirit of Samba: Carnival sets Rio alight as dancers take to the Sambadrome

Rio de Janeiro's top samba schools entertained thousands at the Sambadrome with eye-opening performances.

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A performer adjusts her costume before the Imperio Serrano samba school parade on the first night of Rio's Carnival at the Sambadrome on Feb. 11, 2018.

Rio de Janeiro's top samba schools danced and sang hard as millions of other Brazilians did the same during nationwide Carnival celebrations that ridiculed local and world leaders, called for tolerance and pushed the boundaries of just about everything.

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A performer from the Mocidade samba school stands on a float.

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A dancer practices before the start of the first night of the carnival.

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Members of the Mocidade samba school dance in the Sambadrome.

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Revelers from the Grande Rio Samba school perform.

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A performer from the Academicos do Grande Rio samba school dances in the Sambadrome.

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The Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school covered the theme of slavery with their performance.

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A woman from the samba school Grupo Especial Vila Isabel takes part in the Carnival celebrations.

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A man from the Grupo Especial Vila Isabel performs with neon lit teeth.

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Members of the Grupo Especial Sao Clemente samba school perform down the parade route.

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A dancer from the Mangueira samba school sings during the celebration.

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Revelers from the Vila Isabel Samba school sing and dance in the parade.

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Dancers from Sao Clemente perform during the parade procession.

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Members of the Grupo Especial Vila Isabel samba school dance atop their float.

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Performers from the Sao Clemente samba school wear elaborate animal costumes during the celebration.

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Performers from the Sao Clemente samba school parade down the Sambadrome.

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Performers from the Imperio Serrano samba school practice backstage before the celebration.

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Performers from the Imperio Serrano samba school dress as pandas for Carnival.

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A male performer from the Unidos da Tijuca Samba school dresses as a Greek god on the second night of Carnival on Feb. 12.

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Revelers from the Unidos da Tijuca Samba school portray a Greek theme during their performance.

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Members of the Grupo Especial Beija Flor samba school take part in a gang violence themed Carnival piece.

In Rio, the celebrations come during a time of unease, as the city that hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics is experiencing a surge in violence.

Authorities promised 17,000 security officers would patrol every day during Carnival celebrations, but Brazilian media reported several muggings over the weekend in the upscale neighborhoods of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon that are popular with tourists.

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A gang violence themed piece is performed by the Beija-Flor samba school.

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A member of the Beija-Flor samba school pretends to shoot another dancer during their Carnival performance.

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A performer from the Salgueiro samba school dances atop a float in the Carnival parade.

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Performers from the Uniao da Ilha samba school parade during Carnival celebrations.

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A member of the Grupo Especial Salgueiro samba school takes part in the celebration.

Photos: Glitter and glee: Carnival season is underway around the globe

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