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Lion dancers prepare for Victoria’s Chinatown parade as Lunar New Year nears

Performers practice up to eight weeks in advance before the annual parade

As tradition strikes again, lion dancers will be shimmering through the streets of Victoria’s Chinatown to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year.

The Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club dancers have been practicing for the annual Grand Parade and several other Lunar New Year performances set for Greater Victoria throughout February.

“For up to eight weeks in advance of the Chinese New Year season, our club will put the kung fu aside and put more time into training for the parades,” Daniel Low, who’s been lion dancing for 32 years, said in an interview.

After more than three decades of experience, lion dancing comes naturally to Low.

“It’s like swimming,” he said. “I might not go to the pool for 10 years, but once I get in the water I know how to do it right.”

Regardless of how long he’s been practicing, performing the traditional dance every year is thrilling for Low.

This Lunar New Year marks the Year of the Dragon, which Low calls the “most mythical of all creatures” in Chinese culture. There have been five years represented by the Dragon leading up to 2024.

Low said people born in any of those years are intelligent, confident, lucky, gifted and powerful.

Dragons are most compatible with those born in years represented by the rat, monkey and rooster Chinese zodiac figures.

“On behalf of the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club, I’d like to wish everybody a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous Year of The Dragon,” added Low.

While the first day of the Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 10, the Grand Parade in Chinatown will be held on Feb. 18 at 11:30 a.m. Subsequent lion dance performances will take place that day at Uptown Mall in the afternoon and at Elements Casino at 8 p.m.

The dancers will have a show at the Esquimalt Town Square on Feb. 11 at 2:30 p.m.; at the Feb. 17 Victoria Royals game at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre; and at Mayfair Mall on Feb. 25.

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