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Gisele shows off her samba skills in Rio

23 February 2004
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Rio de Janeiro's carnival celebrations got off to a characteristically spectacular start on Sunday, when the city exploded in an extravaganza of noise, colour and flesh. Some 100,000 revellers turned out for the opening ceremony at the Sambadrome arena, with Brazilian stars like supermodel Gisele Bundchen joining in the fun.

The catwalk beauty seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the event, treating onlookers to a demonstration of her samba dancing skills. But the parade itself was the real star, as the people of Brazil forgot about their recent political troubles and indulged in some serious partying.

As usual the floats succeeded in amazing the crowd and raising eyebrows in equal measure. Luciana Morad, the mother of Mick Jagger's son Lucas, put in an appearance, exhorting young people to practise safe sex. And another of the floats, which was promoting alternative fuels, featured a complete go-cart track with racers speeding around it.

Authorities estimate that 400,000 tourists had come to Rio for the carnival weekend, with around 80,000 making the journey from outside Brazil. The passengers of the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner were also among the throng, after their luxurious ship dropped anchor in Guanbara Bay.

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Photo: ©
Gisele gets down to some serious boogying as the festivities take off. The Brazilian beauty was just one of 100,000 revellers who came along for the opening ceremonyPhoto: © AFP
Photo: ©
While the supermodel is no stranger to barely-there outfits, she would have her work cut out to steal the show from the other dancers. The festival is famous for its skimpy clothes and risqué floatsPhoto: © AFP

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