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Celebrating the Chinese New Year Lion Dancing!

We had a wonderful few weeks of celebrating the latest Chinese New Year (2013 - Year of the Snake) right here in Madison, Wisconsin... and actually even beyond!

The "Lion Dance Season" began, right here in Madison, with an impressive display at the Overture Center for the Arts during their International Festival (Sunday, January 27th). The Team displayed, besides the new awesome Zhong Yi banner, a very entertaining lion dance with a total of 8 lions and a well instrumented musical display. Afterwards the Youth Kung Fu Demo Team put on a great show for the audience displaying so,e newly acquired skills and weapons.

Next was one of our favorite stops at UW-Platteville's Confucius Institute (Sunday, February 3rd) where, once again, the Lion Dance Team did an awesome dance (8 lions) with a "green puzzle" (青陣 - Qīng Zhèn) that was a crowd pleaser, followed by another great demo and finished with our traditional lion dance, which was a great way to close their festival.

Then came the Chinese (or Lunar) New Year Weekend (Friday, 2/8 - Saturday, 2/9 and Sunday 2/10). These were all here in Madison and started out with a bang with our annual Lee's Garden Lion Dance where the dinners were entertained by our lions blessing the restaurant and playing with the crowd, later that same night we headed over to Van Hise Elementary School to celebrate the Lunar New Year where we gave a Lion Dance performance and stayed around to talk to students, parents and teachers about lion dancing and take plenty of pictures. Saturday we began with our Lion Dance and Kung Fu demo for the MFCC and the Chinese Language school programs of Dane County, the big treat here was during the demo section where Wesley and Jaia premiered (to the public) the Broadsword vs. Spear set from our system, it was a huge crowd pleaser among many other demos that day, afterwards we headed to Lee's Garden, again, for not only our second performance but also a Dà Pú (大酺) or "celebrating with the Lion Dance Team" dinner (the first of many). On Sunday we began with an "Eye Opening Ceremony" (開光 - Kāi Guāng) for our latest lion named Zhuge Liang -which is a Youth size Yellow and Black lion (it's not every year that we can have one of these on the exact New Year Day!), we then proceeded to another yearly mandatory stop at Asian Midway Foods, where, since it was raining, we had to begin and end the lion dance inside the market, it was a lot of fun and caught many customers by surprise (even our friends from Madison Wing Chun!), the crew had a blast blessing the establishment and playing with the customers. Next our first (of three) Lion Dances at our greatest patrons, Hong Kong Cafe, this one is always fun and the customers have a blast. Funny thing is that it was raining until 5 minutes before the beginning of the dance, then somehow the rain stopped antil the dance was over and the lions were packed! After Hong Kong Cafe the next stop was a new restaurant for our lion dance crew, Happy Wok, it was quite a bit of fun and the owner and staff loved it. The last stop that night was our own Chinese New Year party at the guan (ZYKFA), it was a wonderful potluck with tons of food, movies, music and great talk about the wonderful full weekend.

The following weekend was just as crazy, but oh so satisfying! We started the weekend an Friday (2/15) with a performance at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) for the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association where we did a flash mob, followed by a kung fu demo, followed by a lion dance and followed by... another lion dance, this was quite an awesome road trip, we had a full size bus pick us up and drop us off and we were also treated to some traditional Chinese food after the performances. Now what was really interesting was that the performances were outdoors and it was 32F, with a bit of wind and occasional snow... but it was still awesome! Then on Saturday (2/16) we had a house blessing with a total of seven lions where Crosby got to do the main blessings for her mom's (and her's) house. After that, Hong Kong Cafe part 2, where there was a packed full house and we were invited back to have our annual Dà Pú (大酺). Sunday was followed with the third and final Lion Dance at Hong Kong Cafe and we celebrated like it was the first day all over!

On Wednesday (2/20), we had a Lion dance and Cultural Talk at Shorewood Elementary where George and Samara rocked a packed house with their Lion Dance skills.

Then came the last Lion Dance of the season on Saturday (2/23) we had the season closer at Imperial Garden Restaurant (a new stop for us this year), where we did another "green puzzle" (青陣 - Qīng Zhèn) called "Guardian Snake" which was very well received by the crowd and staff, we also were able to use for the first time our electronic firecrackers (big hit and much safer than real ones) and had several generous gift by the restaurant manager Tim Lee. We finished it off with one more Dà Pú (大酺) at Imperial Garden this time, where the crew was able to reminisce about the past four weeks with fond memories.

We Lion Danced around Madison, and our Lion Dances took us not just to other parts of Wisconsin but even beyond state borders, all the way to Indiana! This year the ZYKFA Lion Dance & Demo Teams outdid themselves!

The greatest thing about being a Lion Dancer is that you get to celebrate Chinese New Year, not just for one day or a few days, being a Lion Dancer (especially this year) you're celebrating for FOUR weeks! Dancing, playing music, eating, laughing and overall just celebrating friends, family and LIFE!

Chinese New Year, I LOVE THIS SEASON!!!

Last modified on Friday, 01 March 2013 23:09

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