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Although samba exists throughout Brazil – especially in the states of Bahia, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, and São Paulo – in the form of various popular rhythms and dances that originated from the regional batuque of the eastern Brazilian state of Bahia, a music form from Cape Verde, samba is frequently identified as a musical expression of urban Rio de Janeiro, where it developed during the first years of the 20th century. Early styles of samba - and specifically samba de roda - are traced back to the Recôncavo region of Bahia during the 17th century, and the informal dancing following a candomblé ceremony. It was in Rio de Janeiro that the dance practiced by former slaves ,who migrated from Bahia came into contact with and incorporated other genres played in the city (such as the polka, the maxixe, the lundu, and the xote), acquiring a completely unique character and creating the samba carioca urbana (samba school) and carnavalesco (Carnaval school director). Samba schools are large organizations of up to 5,000 people which compete annually in the Carnival with thematic floats, elaborate costumes, and original music.

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