Paraiso School of Samba creates spectacular carnival parades & performances in the Rio de Janeiro tradition with a cultural & artistic authenticity unique in the UK. Considered an 'opera for the streets', our productions, created annually, comprise original costumes, 7-metre-high floats, choreography & original, live music that address a new theme every year. One of the UK's largest carnival groups, we present our work at major London carnivals including Notting Hill and Hackney Carnival. We tour throughout the UK, targeting areas of least arts engagement, and present across Europe in partnership with European carnivals and Samba bands. Paraiso's mission is to br... read more Paraiso School of Samba creates spectacular carnival parades & performances in the Rio de Janeiro tradition with a cultural & artistic authenticity unique in the UK. Considered an 'opera for the streets', our productions, created annually, comprise original costumes, 7-metre-high floats, choreography & original, live music that address a new theme every year. One of the UK's largest carnival groups, we present our work at major London carnivals including Notting Hill and Hackney Carnival. We tour throughout the UK, targeting areas of least arts engagement, and present across Europe in partnership with European carnivals and Samba bands. Paraiso's mission is to bring the culture and art of Rio de Janeiro samba and carnival to the UK, with the highest standard of artistic excellence and public participation. Paraiso aims to be widely recognised and supported for its status as the foremost European School of Samba and to be financially sustainable whilst ensuring successful continuation of its cultural mission. Our mission is to: Create imaginative, innovative and exciting performances of excellence; Promote carnival arts to increase audience understanding of the cultural and social importance of samba; Give ordinary people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn music, percussion, dance and carnival arts, and participate in creative performances; Provide first-class teaching at open access workshops of percussion, dance, and carnival arts; Provide opportunities for youth involvement in all activities; Maintain collective involvement and participation; Constantly review and adapt ourselves to ensure we are a well-managed and sustainable organization; Show Leadership encouraging and supporting others in our sector to advance artistic standards and sustainability. Our work reaches a vital need of uncovering talent and nurturing creativity in the UK. We inspire people of all ages, ethnicities and abilities to participate and perform in carnival arts as a vehicle for self-expression; creating pride of place and community cohesion. Paraiso's work, and carnival arts in general, has a unique and embedded ability to reach those hardest to reach, meeting people where they are; in their streets, within their communities, and in their towns. Taking place in outdoor, un-ticketed spaces, our work attracts wide and diverse audiences, inspiring people who would not usually attend ticketed 'arts' performances and telling stories of cultures and traditions from around the globe. Central to our mission is the belief that ordinary people from diverse backgrounds can learn music, percussion, dance, and carnival arts and participate in spectacular performances. We have a large supporter base of 4,450 people who have registered on our website. 1,295 of these have membership cards for attendance at classes and workshops. 500 actively participated in our activities in 2018. Based in London, we see and say hello to about 180 people at weekly open-access classes and workshops in Camden and Brixton. We reach public audiences in excess of 750,000 people annually. In 2018, with the theme of Kings & Queens, Paraiso once again received 1st prize at Notting Hill Carnival (300/300) with over 250 participants, including 20 from Azulinha samba school, Paris, who participated in the production through Paraiso's cultural samba exchange project. Paraiso remains at the forefront of the Brazilian Carnival arts sector in the UK. The organisation is responsible for the success of young up and coming samba bands and mentors ParaCarnival - the UK's only samba band created for disabled participants, and Uniao Da Mocidade - a samba band that targets BAME and NEET young people from Lambeth. We mentor our young dancers and percussionists enabling them to progress to leading and teaching our workshops, along with learning costume-making and float-building skills. Our long-term goal is to develop a national samba programme, mentoring existing samba bands and nurturing young people to develop careers in the creative arts, targeting areas of low artistic engagement outside London. We have held National Portfolio status with Arts Council England (ACE) since 2012, receiving 60,348 funding per year. We currently have funding secured from ACE until 2022. This support has so far ensured that the organisation can deliver against its basic artistic aims and create excellent and far reaching work annually: it currently costs Paraiso an average of 60,000 to produce our annual artistic programme and maintain our outstanding artistic output and participation. However, with our Arts Council funding at a standstill since 2012 (effectively a cut in our funding), our ability to continue our work is compromised. We operate with limited organisational capacity, via a dedicated board of Trustees and committed volunteers, who donate their time to administrate, organise and fund-raise.
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