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Post-90s students in lion dance troupe in Shunde

People's Daily Online)  09:05, July 29, 2013  

Lion dancing is a sport that deserves respect.(Photo/Yangcheng Evening News)

Edited and translated by Li Xiang, People's Daily Online

The beginning of the idea

To carry on the tradition of lion dancing, Zhou Zhiman initiated a lion dance troupe named 'Rongguiwai village lion troupe' in 1996 with his friends. Zhou has more than 30 apprentices over the past 17 years, two thirds of whom are post-90s students still at schools. On weekdays, Zhou is a normal clerk at a factory.

They are now busy preparing for the performance at the International Dragon and Lion Dance party to be held in Hong Kong on Aug. 11, 2013.

Injuries are 'routine.'

Wen Kun is a sophomore at Fujian Normal University. He came all the way from Fujian to learn lion dancing in Shunde after he learned from the weibo (Chinese microblogging platform) that the Lion troupe aims to "carry forward traditional Chinese cultural legacy, and is available for long-term enrollment, with no extra fee charged".

When the reporter arrived, Wen was practicing walking exercise on 2-meter-tall wooden pillars. All of a sudden, he fell from the pillar. He was not injured thanks to a thick foam pad supporting his body, only got his left calf scratched.
Wen's injury appears to be "insignificant" in the eyes of other members, because the head of the lion weighs almost 8-12 kilograms. Moreover, lion dance training involves both pillar walking and pole-climbing, and sometimes dancers will be asked to perform on high stacked chairs, making injuries "routine."

Hidden worries

Zhou admitted, at first, lion dance is meant for personal interest, but it turns out to be one expensive interest to have: an ordinary colored lion will cost 1,000 yuan ($163), and it costs 5,000-6,000 yuan ($816-979) for one lion of good quality. Not to mention other costs for costumes and props.

For instance, Zhou's lion dance troupe went to Indonesia for International Lion Dance competition, and won the 8th place with bonus of 300 US dollars, however, the whole process costed him 120,000 yuan ($19,572). Zhou told us, to operate the lion dance troupe, he has spent more than 500,000 yuan ($81,550) on the troupe over the past 17 years.

Although the young troupe has won many awards internationally, Zhou admitted that there are some hidden worries such as lacking practicing plots, draining of dancers and failure on buying long-term commercial insurance.

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(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)


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