Lion Dance

The percussion section of the Rising Phoenix Lion Dance Association of Texas practices staying in sync while playing the rhythms that the lions will dance to at the Allen Public Library Jan. 18.

As the lunar year comes to an end, festivities to celebrate the Chinese New Year and the coming of good fortune will be held across the Metroplex. The year 2020 will celebrate the year of the rat, signifying new beginnings.

To join the celebration, the Allen Public Library will host a lion dance 11:30 a.m. Jan. 18 in the courtyard outside.

The Rising Phoenix Lion Dancing Association inTexas will perform the dance accompanied by their own percussion group. 

“Lion dancing is usually performed for celebrations like the Lunar New Year,” Rising Phoenix leader Kevin Nguyen said. “It's extremely popular because it's a symbol of killing away bad spirits and bringing good fortune, love and wealth to people.”

Nguyen said his passion for lion dancing blossomed as a kid when his father danced with his own team in California. When his family moved to Texas, Nguyen got involved with his temple’s youth group and later started the Texas branch of Rising Phoenix. 

“I like the team aspect,” Nguyen said. “It's kind of like football. Everyone has their own position, and we work as a team. There's a choreography and music that the lion follows, so everybody plays a part to bring together a really big show.”

The library brought back the lion dance soon after the first Chinese story time. Visitors watched from inside the library to escape the cold. 

“I intended to have it in the auditorium, but not everyone we had could fit,” Library Youth Services Manager Claudia Wayland said. “We had over 300 people who wanted to watch the lion dance, so we moved it out into the courtyard. It's been cold and everything, but people people come anyways. Some will hang out inside, but it's very popular. The usual turnout is 350-ish.”

The lion dance will last 30 minutes starting in the courtyard, then it will parade through the library accompanied by their own percussion group before returning outside. 

“It's very loud,” Wayland said with a laugh. “People sometimes, if they don't know that it's happening, and they don't know that there's a lion dance, they're like, ‘What is that noise?’ But it only lasts about 30 minutes.”

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