JOHOR BARU: The busy season is upon a group of young lion dancing children as they prepare to handle six bookings a day.
The Che Cher Khor Moral Uplifting Society has a dragon and lion dance troupe consisting of 19 members aged between six and 16.
Parent and founder of the dance troupe, Natalie Ten Yen Ling, 40, said this year a total of 16 bookings were received over the four days that they were able to perform.
“The children can only perform when it’s not a school day, so this year we are performing on Jan 31 and Feb 1 as well as the last two days of the Chinese New Year.
“Normally we can manage to perform at six locations in a single day, ” she said when met at the society’s building in Jalan Storey, Kim Teng Park.
Ten said the troupe was set up three years ago by her and other parents in the group.
This was done as a way to get their children involved in other activities besides playing on their smartphones and video games.
“Nine of the children in our troupe are below the age of 10, and we want to build them up physically and mentally.
“Dragon dance requires teamwork and coordination, and we also teach civic values to them, ” she said, adding that moral aspects such as patience and humility were emphasised during training and performance.
The children are trained and supervised by their parents, with two of the parents being certified professionals in the art.
When interviewed, the children were enthusiastic in sharing their enjoyment of being part of the troupe.
One of them, Forbes Boon Qing Yi, 12, who has been involved in lion and dragon dance since kindergarten, said he hoped to be able to attract new team members.
“I want to make more friends and I wish to show them how fun lion and dragon dancing can be.
“Even a difficult task as spinning the long and heavy dragon becomes easy when I do it with friends, ” he said.
Mah Kai Lek, 12, who has been in the troupe since he was nine, said he always looked forward to training.
“We train once a week every Friday but if it was up to me, I want the training to be done every day!” he said.
The oldest in the troupe, Tan Jia Ning, 16, said she still found time to study despite her packed schedule. “I am able to maintain good grades because those who don’t will be suspended from the troupe, ” she said.
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