The ritual must have begun as something brutal and shamanistic, but has now been formalised into elegance.
The lion is released from her cage and there is a curious symmetry between the way her shoulderblades go up and down and the characteristic, sidling gait the performing woman walks with; the ceremonial robes allow only that.
Anxious performers may carry a dagger, but most go without. The lion circles her three times as she makes her way across the arena, every movement calculated and written down in an old book.
There is swift, bloodless death. It takes a lifetime to master.