Seven-year-old Julia Lira, the youngest drum corps queen in memory at Rio de Janiero’s Carnival, broke down in tears and needed a time-out after finding herself center stage. “Dressed in a sequined halter top and a miniskirt made of purple feathers, the youngster shuffled through the first 50 yards of the parade. Her father – the president of the parading Viradouro samba group – then took her by the hand and presented her to the crowd. She smiled big for the photographers. But 10 minutes into the group’s parade and surrounded by dozens of photographers and television cameramen, the youngster broke down in tears and was immediately scooped up into the arms of her unofficial handler, the group’s spokeswoman Joice Hurtado, and taken away from the attention. After a five-minute cool down, Julia returned to her place in front of the group’s massive drum line, but was quickly whisked through the parade grounds by her father and out of the media’s eye. It was not clear if the girl left the parade all together – the Globo television network, with exclusive rights to coverage of the event, didn’t show her again. Before the parade began, Julia’s father, Marco Lira, said that ‘she’s happy, she is ready to dance’. But some in the audience thought she was not ready for the spotlight.”
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