Though it officially lasts a mere four days, Rio lives and breathes Carnival year-round. Starting in June, you really feel the spirit in so-called samba schools, the groups that parade the city’s Sambadrome every February in the hopes of being judged best of all. The schools’ spaces, open to the public, play host to rehearsals where participants prepare for the following year’s spectacle. Those who come will get an in-the-flesh look at both samba as well as Carnival’s sensuality and exciting power. Schools abound, and at most, those who wish can let loose on the dance floor at the same time they enjoy the music. Two schools—Salgueiro and Mangueira—are especially visitor-friendly.