Multiracial troupe receives praise


United we dance: Chan (right) taking a wefie with his team after their performance at Subang.

PETALING JAYA: The lion dance performance is a staple during Chinese New Year celebrations, and the members of a multicultural lion dance group have become a symbol of Malaysia.Their lion dance performance in Subang, Selangor, caught the attention of social media users.

The three-minute-long clip featured performers from the Yong Jun Dragon and Lion Dance Bukit Beruntung.

The video garnered more than 1.2 million views and 9,500 shares, prompting many proud Malaysians to comment and praise the exceptional performers.

Yong Jun Dragon and Lion Dance founder Kobe Chan Yong Zhen, 32, said the performance was held during the Xuan Long dragon and lion dance establishment ceremony in Subang on Thursday.

The video showcased a performance by three Malay girls, and a Malay boy, an Indian boy and a Chinese boy.

A Malay girl kick-started the performance by beating the drum. It was then followed by the Chinese and Indian performers playing the cymbals.

Chan said they joined the team in 2018.

“They studied in a Chinese primary school. By chance, our lion dance troupe went to the school to perform, and they got interested in lion dance,” he said.

Chan taught them for free, with the only requirement being that they practise hard and participate in the performance.

“At first, it was quite difficult because the lion dance is not a part of their culture, so they were not used to learning various dance techniques.

“But after practising for only three months, they managed to master the skills.

“They can understand simple drumming and basic stance, but when performing vigorous drum beats, I had to explain to them in English and Malay.

“This is all due to their passion, interest and discipline while undergoing training.

“They are talented and good students and can perform amazing lion dances,” he said.

Chan said the troupe used to have about 30 members from three major races.

“But some of the parents had the perception that the lion dance is associated with religion. In reality, it is a historical heritage and culture,” he said.

Chan also said the multiracial lion dance team was the second runner-up at the Mahkota Parade Gao Feng Cup, the 7th traditional lion dance championship, in 2019.

Among the winning team members were Sharvin Rao, 17, Khairunnisa Adawiyan, 13, and Adzwin Puteri, 17, both from SMK Bukit Sentosa.

“The lion dance can now be learnt and enjoyed by everyone, regardless of culture or race, as long as you have the passion,” he said.

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