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The periodic coming together of hundreds of revellers defines a “carnavalesque” society,  a society where carnival is deep routed. Anchored in social realities, the Momesca reign inverts and diverts daily tensions into dreams and fantasies. Momo comes from Greek mythology and turned into the symbol of carnival as the King of Carnival.


During the festivities, the city distills its frustrations, taumas, and pains into irony, mischief and extacy. An allegory of its time, the Sarongue Ball also follows these same principles, invoking the angels and demons of carnival to create its annual theme.

Invited artists create installations that fill the ballroom, the installations interpret the annual chosen theme.




One of the principle ideas of the ball is to align the tradition of Rio’s Carnival balls with contemporary artistic experimentation. It searches to converge innovation, tradition and fun, and creating a space for intergenerational interaction.


Since 2013, it is not only the King of Momo (the King of Carnival) who receives the the key to the City of Sarongue, but also all the party goers, so that everyone can take part in the festivities. The symbolic key is sold as the ticket, and you can only buy it in person, it is not sold virtually.

To get hold of a key you are required to move around the city and come into contact with others searching for the key to the party too, it promotes a series of meetings in unexpected locations, divulged only the day before.  The excitement of the search for the key is carried into the ballroom on the night of the party.



The announcements about the Sarongue ball are focused on both carnival history and the annual theme. Like in acupuncture, the information is disclosed poignantly and specifically, attracting a public who are already predisposed to this type of party, who then, like a star in its orbit, radiate the information, intriguing others around them with the vibe of the party. 



Participation in the build up to the Ball gives people the feeling of being a citizen of an utopian society, and strengthens the idea of being part of a group  This process prepares people for the sense being part of a collective body, that will fill the ballroom on the night of the ball. This dynamic is also present in the minutiae details in the design of the event.

A little before the date, the Thursday before carnival, the installations are setup with the participation of dozens of people. The use of low tech materials means that no technical abilities are required, therefore more people can participate in the preparations. Essentially democratic, the collective process sets the tone for the esthetics of the ball.


The search is to create an event in ballroom that conjures up the idea of being part of historical carnival festivities, in this way putting the event into a chronological line of past balls.  The intention is to illuminate a past tradition of carnival and the emblematic places that are now mostly forgotten.


Contrary to a concert, where the attention is on the stage, in the ball, the room is the protagonist; the room is the stage. The fundamental principle of the Sarongue is to have a collective dance, with the party goers interacting with each other. The body of the ball, is defined by the movement of the individual to the community, to be together in one vibration, concluding in a communal festivity. The old carnival balls preserved the ancestral ritual of dancing in circular groups. Our intention is to return to the powerful force of this tradition.


The organisation of the dancing wheel, entwined by the rhythm established by the ties of the unity of multiple solo instances, lures the individual to the communal dance.

The synergy of the rotation allows the people to resonate with cosmic movements. In the heart of the whirlwind, the existence of the human reaches the highest degree of affirmation, be it social, cultural or spiritual. (Bernhard Wosien, Dança - Um caminho para a totalidade)

Max Reinert
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