The mythical lion dances through Chinatown as part of Chinese New Year celebrations Feb. 2 at noon.

A LION COMES TO LIFE

The mythical lion leaps and dances through Chinatown as part of the Chinese New Year Celebrations

Rhythmic drumming fills the air, fireworks crackle and bang, a gong sounds, the scent of incense and smoke wafts through the Gates of Harmonious Interest. When the mythical lion leaps and dances through Chinatown as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration on Feb. 2, it will be the Wong Sheung Hung Fut Kung Fu Club members bringing it to life.

“Traditionally all lion dancers are kung fu practitioners as the basis of the lion dance is a series of stances derived from kung fu,” says Terrence Lim.

The senior student and instructor has been with the Wong Sheung club for nine years.

Upwards of a dozen students take part in the club’s lion dance workshops while at other times of the year it can be as few as two people.

“Not all students are interested in the lion dance at first but we heavily insist on participation. Usually every student comes around to it.”

Others show interest in the lion dance, or the drumming that goes with it, but only those with kung fu and martial arts backgrounds need apply.

“We are a diverse group that changes, often with a lot of university students who eventually leave,” Lim says. “We are for hire but we also do charity and non-paid events.”

They’re an annual fixture at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival and have been asked to perform for an event at the Royal Conservatory of Music this winter.

From Monday to Thursday, students and instructors train in the ways of kung fu. And on Friday nights their Government Street studio is a place where lions prance and drums pound. The club has been the home of the lion dance in Victoria since 1974, the year Sigung Wong Sheung started the club. He died in 2001, but the tradition and his legacy continue.

There is more to the lion’s New Year dance than onlookers might gather. For example, should a shop owner want to feed the lion lettuce, a common occurrence to bring luck, the lion will tip off the drums with a non-verbal cue before proceeding.

They feed off each other, as the drums cue the lion and the lion cues the drums, Lim says.

A lion dance team is comprised of lion dancers and percussionists on the drum, cymbal and gong, and, though optional, a Buddha.

Be there at noon as the procession takes an approximate 1.5 hour journey through Victoria’s Chinatown.

The mythical lion dances through Chinatown as part of Chinese New Year celebrations

Feb. 2 at noon.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

Pacific Opera takes music to the streets

Artists travel around Capital Region District this summer for live performences

SKAMpede goes live in July

Beloved annual event returns with changes, pre-registration online

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Campbell River teen produces quarantine musical

Ryver Santos Cegnar performed for friends and family over Facebook

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer camp moves programming online due to COVID-19

Teenage artists have until the end of next week to apply to Dazzle Camouflage

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to central Vancouver Island

Only 40 tickets available for each Vancouver Island Symphony private backyard show

Courtenay theatre gets support for livestream ‘hybrid’ shows this year

Island Coastal Economic Trust funds help Sid Williams Theatre with infrastructure, training

Virtual film industry career fair offers chance to talk with the experts

Experts in 11 different departments, three film union representative will be in attendance

Victoria Classic Boat Festival cancelled due to safety concerns

Organizers say Inner Harbour doesn’t provide enough space for physical distancing

Infringing festival finds a way to dance during pandemic

Nanaimo’s Crimson Coast Dance Society holding drive-in, micro and physically distanced events

Coastal scenes at the forefront for July shows at Victoria galleries

From sculpture to landscape paintings, summer art is about nature

Most Read