Chinese New Year Season 2014 - Year of the Horse


ZYKFA Performance Troupe with Chung Wan (忠雲) the Luminescent Dragon at the Grand Opening of A-Mart Asian Groceries - 2/1/14 - Photo by Randall Roden -

This 2014 Chinese New Year season was quite remarkable for the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association. So many great accomplishments were made by so many people, it was truly remarkable. The weather was very cold and snowy at times, typical February weather for Wisconsin, but that did not stop the ZYKFA crew.

Day 1 (Friday 1/31) was already a rush as we performed at Hong Kong Cafe, Lee's Garden and Imperial Garden one after the other. The shows were great, the restaurants were full and the crowd loved it. What marked the first few hours as being so special was that for the first time we presented a Sar Ping (沙坪) style lion dance to the public, we've only been working on this style for about three months, which we (Ben, Nate, Rachel D., and myself) learned from Great Grandmaster Robin Chan Siew Kee and Master Albert Fong Kong Yip, but the ZYKFA crew took the challenge and went for it. The switch was something that was hanging heavily over the heads of many of the performers; they were a bit "scared" of the drastic change from our usual Futsan (佛山) freestyle to the more regimented and precise Hoksan (鶴山) Sar Ping style. The plan was to focus on only a few of the beats (there's a total of 18 patterns in this system) to be performed, namely; Suei Si (睡獅), Sing Si (醒獅), Hang Lai (行禮), Guk Fa Tau (菊花頭), Mat Dim (密點), So Dim (疏點), Taam Bou (探步), Jung Jin (中展) and Dang Saan (登山) besides the usual Leui Gu (雷鼓) which we were accustomed to (quick note, the first four beats mentioned are not considered part of the 18 patterns). This was also the first time we danced our Qilins (麒麟) for the New Year, where they ushered in lots of Rui () everywhere they went!

At the end of Day 1 we then went back to ZYKFA this time to do the Kai Guang/Hoi Gwong (開光 - Eye Opening) ceremony for our new Dragon named Chung Wan (忠雲) in honor of our beloved "uncle" Joe Leung. His wife Stella and daughter Rani, along with many members of the Leung family, were present and Stella and Rani even did the honors of dotting Chung Wan to bring him to "life". It was a truly awesome experience (very emotional as well, for many of us). Chung Wan then went on to do the traditional Baai Sei Mun (拜四門) and dance around the Guan (), then came yet another very cool experience, the lights went off and the black lights went on and Chung Wan went on to dance while glowing in the dark! After the wonderful experience we all had a delicious (and enormous) Chinese potluck dinner while talking to friends and family. It will be one of those truly unforgettable nights.

Day 2 (Saturday, 2/1) started out in high gear, with the New Year and Grand Opening celebration for A-Mart Asian Groceries where we performed a Cheng Jan (青陣) named "A Very Auspicious Grand Opening" (開張大吉) performed to the Sar Ping beats which were practiced. After the show, that included a pair of Qilin, we went on to do a Dragon dance, it was tight but it was fun! The music, which keeps getting better and better with every performance, added a lot of "drama" to the dance. Then on to the MFCC (Madison Families with Children from China) / VAIS (Verona Area International School) New Year celebration at Waunakee High School where we performed a Lion Dance for the crowd, which was filled with adorable smiley faces, and we were able to even present our Dragon dance, this time with plenty of space to perform! The dancers were able to do a lot of the patterns at full speed and it was quite exhilarating to watch. Next we went the Dane County Family Acupuncture Clinic, in Monona. We were there for their grand opening a few years ago and the place seems to be thriving! Lions and Qilins ushered in a new year with lots of prosperity and good health for all in attendance. On to our second show and Hong Kong Cafe, another sold out night, with lots of laughter and good times, followed by Lee's Garden where not only there was a great crowd present Madison's city Mayor, Mr. Paul Soglin was there as well. The final stop was for the Taiwanese Students & Families Association New Year party where we had a wonderful time and we were presented with some traditional New Year food gifts. After the day was done we were back to Hong Kong Cafe for the annual Da Pu (大酺) where we had a wonderful specially catered meal cooked by Philip and the staff at the restaurant.

Day 3 (Sunday, 2/2) was our annual big performance at UW-Plateville Confucius Institute's New Year Celebration. We performed our opening lion dance with a special Sar Ping style dance performance, halfway through, making it a great performance. Then onto our five-minute kung fu demo where we squeezed 12 performers with handsets, weapons sets and two person sets on the stage to the tune of Jay Chow's (周杰倫) song Huo Yun Jia (霍元甲). We closed the show with a Dragon Dance done both on the floor by the audience and on stage with the black lights on. Then a quick hour drive back to Madison to do our third and final show for the season at Hong Kong Cafe, where once again we had a great time and performed our annual "Geung Gung Goes Fishing"(姜公釣魚)Green Array.

The week went by really quick with an awesome premiere practice for our Performance Troupe on Wednesday night, with a full crew participating in it.

On Day 8 (Friday, 2/7) we did an evening performance at Heritage Senior Living in Middleton where we performed not only an awesome Lion Dance but also a great kung fu demo where the ZYKFA drummers took turns drumming for the different sets being performed.

Day 9 (Saturday, 2/8) the crew got picked up by the Prairie du Chien School System vans (4 of them) to haul our equipment and crew for an evening of performances. The drive was in almost blizzard like conditions but we arrived safely and on time. We started with our Sleeping Lions (睡獅) routine with 5 lions, then after a quick break, we had a 20 minute kung fu demo with our drummers switching in between as well and finishing the show with a bridge crossing routine, all done with Sar Ping style music.

Day 10 (Sunday, 2/9) was the last of the season and we were back to the Watertown Public Library where we danced with 5 lions and a Qilin much to the delight of the audience. The lions threw tangerines out to the crowd and expelled the lettuce spreading wealth and good fortune to all.

Afterwards we went across the street from the library to Mullen's Dairy, where we all enjoyed sandwiches, fries, malts and scoops of ice cream. It was a great way to conclude a Wisconsin Style Chinese New Year!

Last modified on Thursday, 13 February 2014 22:41

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