How troupe keeps lion dancing spirit alive for Lunar New Year during COVID

Georges River Council

The traditional lion dances will continue in Sydney’s south this Lunar New Year.

On Friday 28 January 2022, 20 lion dancers will bring the beloved spectacle to the streets of Hurstville for the Little Lunar celebration – a bite-size Lunar night out brought to you by Georges River Council with sights, sounds and tastes of Asia.

The Lead lion dancer who has been performing at the Hurstville celebrations for 20 years, Johnny Leung, said the troupe will experiment with new formats to be COVID-safe, but the traditional essence of the dance will remain.

“We will be wearing masks during our performances; this means that we have to train consistently, refine our techniques and be more athletic so that we can breathe through a mask.

“Our lions will be roaming the streets, rather than a stage performance, so that we can keep our audiences moving.”

Though it has been a challenging period, lion dancing has been an indispensable part of the celebratory occasion.

As the leader and dance teacher at the Australian Yau Kung Mun Association in Kingsgrove, the spirit of the lion dance never leaves the Leung’s family.

Johnny Leung’s grandfather – Grandmaster Cheung Leung founded the organisation as one of the first in Sydney in the 1980s.

“My grandfather’s legacy is one that I need to endure.

“Yau Kung Mun style of lion dancing means ‘the style of flexible power’; it combines the use of ancient martial arts and imitating the movements of a lion.

“I trust we can adapt the challenges ahead, uphold our traditions, explore new frontiers and put on an intriguing lion display for our community, marking the Year of the Tiger to be a more prosperous era.”

Georges River Mayor Nick Katris said, “The eye catching ritual is just what we need moving into the New Year with hope and courage for our community.

“This is just one of the amazing ways that locals can welcome the Year of the Tiger on Little Lunar.

“We chose lion dances as a way to show our locals and visitors that our streets are open, and our best days are yet to come.”

Schedule of the day

Georges River Council is proud to present lion dancing and traditional Chinese crackers during the In Good Taste Little Lunar Night Markets, Friday 28 January 2022.

Performance 1: 5.30pm

Performance 2: 6.30pm

Location: along Forest Road and McMahon Street, Hurstville

Fabulous, bright and loud, 20 dancers will be dancing in perfect harmony to the beat of the drums, echoing through the streets to herald a lucky New Year’s day.

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