Lion dances bring fun and funds

Watch them go: Sheng Wai Dragon & Lion Dance troupe members dressed in Captain America-themed costumes performing an acrobatic lion dance in conjunction with Chinese New Year.

PETALING JAYA: With Covid-19 restrictions almost entirely lifted and Chap Goh Meh only 10 days away, troupes nationwide are all revved up to meet demand for their lion dance performances this Chinese New Year.

Petaling Jaya-based Khuan Loke Dragon and Lion Dance Association deputy president Albert Fong said his association’s multiracial troupes have been practising intensively over the past month.

“It has been the busiest year since before the pandemic hit in 2020; we have been booked for at least 82 performances this festival, with 40 scheduled on Chap Goh Meh day.

“We believe our six teams can take up the challenge, as we have been preparing for over a month before the celebration started.”

He said his troupes, which specialise in acrobatic lion dances, have a tight schedule starting as early as 6am that day.

Sheng Wai Dragon & Lion Dance Kuala Lumpur founder Eugene Ng said they have 120 special performances using uniquely decorated and designed lions.

He said the number of bookings for his lion dance performances has doubled compared to last year, as tighter Covid-19 standard operating procedures have been lifted, allowing more public events to be held.

“We’ve practised nearly every day for a month – in addition to our regular training of three days a week – for the past year, so I am extra confident my troupe would be able to put on a dazzling display.

“We’ve even prepared rabbit mascot costumes in conjunction with the water rabbit year, as well as unique Captain America-themed lion costumes to appeal to younger audiences,” he said, adding that his troupe’s two teams would be handling eight performances each on the last day of the celebration.

Pak Hock Physical Training Association Johor Baru president Bryan Lim Kian Ann said his troupe had prepared a wide variety of lion costumes to perform at 50 events.

Hong Yi Dragon & Lion Dance Malaysia founder Calvin Hong said although there are more bookings for lion dance performances this year, the number remains meagre compared with pre-pandemic days.

“Then, we could easily get between 200 and 300 bookings every Chinese New Year. We only have 126 bookings for this celebration, with 27 scheduled for Chap Goh Meh.”

He said before the pandemic, they used to get their bookings as early as before Christmas, but this year orders only came in a week before the festival, with many customers indecisive due to the current poor economic situation.

Yong Jun Dragon and Lion Dance founder Kobe Chan Yong Zhen, 32, said his troupe would focus on large-scale performances at the Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport Bukit Bintang City Centre (LaLaport BBCC) for Chap Goh Meh.

“We are a relatively small team of 30 members from various races, with some still in school, so I would rather not overstress them with multiple shows on the last day of the celebration.

“However, performing at LaLaport BBCC will be one of the largest performances we have ever done, and we plan to surprise every-one with something special.”

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