Lunar New Year: The art of the lion dance

Hong Kong (CNN)Over a billion people will observe the beginning of Lunar New Year this Saturday. Customs practiced leading up to and during the 15-day interval called Spring Festival, contain eating dumplings and setting off fireworks to ward off evil spirits.

The accepted party however — as well as the action most closely linked to the lunar new year across the world — stays that of the lion dance that is iconic. In Chinese communities from New York to Shanghai, colorful lion dances are performed to ensure an auspicious year ahead.
    For members of Kwok’s Kung Fu and Dragon Lion dance team in Hong Kong, Chinese New Year is their most active season, with dancers training more than 8 hours at a time and performing at 40 occasions on the two-week vacation.
      “You have to work hard and practice hard,” says Master Andy Kwok, that has spent the last two decades instructing the dance team’s 500 members past and current. Beyond Chinese New Year, the team performs at special events including weddings and new business openings, and competes in a variety of contests in Asia and Hong Kong.
      Based on kung fu techniques, the skill of the lion dance is rooted in type and subject. But bringing the lion that is lively to life, demands a level of playacting and artistry.
      “When you go inside the lion head, you have to think like the lion, not like a human,” Kwok describes. “You have to know the character of the lion, blink like the lion, be hungry like the lion.”
      In the video above, see the primary two characters of the Southern-design of the Chinese lion dance demo movements. Tony Yuen plaies the monk, Reeve Chan plaies the lion’s head as well as Steven Cheng plaies the lion’s tail.

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