The Lion Dance is a tradition…

…from Asia, it’s about renewal, bringing celebratory energy to the New Year. As dancers we connect to the spirit of the lion and embody the idea of benevolence, to clear away bad spirits and bring in heavenly good energy. Every time the drum starts up I feel my teachers with me, behind me, my lineage, pushing that positive energy. You can’t do this on your own. You need that team of people. There’s power in that.

We perform the traditional southern or Hong Kong style. Chinese New Year is our busiest time. We’ll do 70 or 80 shows in two or three weeks. There are two of us in each lion, the head and the tail, so we’ll have signals for starting a routine or a stunt. The stances, movements and postures all come from martial arts training.

I started coming to Lohan when I was a kid, every day after school. I remember Dashi, patting me on the back when I did something well. Now I share that with people who are younger than me, the feeling of being part of a community and bringing people together.

 —JoeyRoss DeChavez, Lohan School of Shaolin, Las Vegas

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