As I stand behind Exhibit A, changing her hair from one high bun into two small buns on top of her head (like budding devil horns!), a crowd of girls starts to gather. They watch intently with each pull of the comb, each twist of the hair and each bobby pin insertion. I spin her around and begin to change her make-up. She needs big red rosy cheeks for the next role and the application of ridiculously long rainbow foil eyelashes, likely the most coveted accessory (aside from the tiaras, of course) of any role. There is a hushed excitement that comes over the girls when those lashes come out of the kaboodle.
These girls have seen this costume, this hair, this make-up, and yes, even these eyelashes countless times... not just on Exhibit A, but on the girls that have danced this role in years past. However, they still get excited to watch the transformation. Someday, they will be expected to do all of this on their own. They watch. They process. They learn. As I continue to work, they literally move around so they can see what I'm doing from all different angles. They do so in silence and without invading my space or Exhibit A's. It almost feels choreographed. When I'm done, they spontaneously clap and then complimented my effort as though I've just performed the role myself.
This is their passion and this seemingly mundane ritual is a part of their art. It is, indeed, a privilege to watch kids for whom something so simple brings so much joy.