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Dancing Lions

These lion dancers are performing in China on the first day of the new year. HUANG ZHIGANG—VCG/GETTY IMAGES

Have you seen lions roaming the streets? It happens at this time of year. The lions dance to the beat of a drum. They are not real lions. They are dancers in lion costumes.

The lions are part of a tradition that is centuries century MINT IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES 100 years (noun) This house has been owned by my family for more than a century. old. It started in China. It is meant to bring good luck in the coming year. In many Asian countries, the new year is celebrated with the new moon in January or February. In 2022, the holiday begins on February 1.

Usually, a lion is made up of two dancers. One dancer controls the head. The other controls the tail.

A lion dance is performed at a parade in San Francisco, California. Lion dancing started in China.


“I think of it as a sport,” says Anthony Huang, age 16. He is a member of the New York Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club. Anthony performs as the lion’s head. It can weigh 20 pounds. Lion dancing is important to Anthony. “This tradition really represents me,” he says.

Changing Times

In the past, lion dancing was performed mostly by men. But it is more inclusive inclusive HUNTSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES open to everyone (adjective) In order to be an inclusive business, the bakery installed a wheelchair ramp. today. LionDanceMe is a lion dancing group. It is in San Francisco, California. There are boys and girls on its team. They dance together.

Ananda Tang-Lee is 17. She says anyone can take up lion dancing. “You have to have confidence that you can do it,” she says.

Lion dancers wear colorful costumes. The costumes can be heavy.


Lion dancing will likely continue to evolve evolve KALI9—GETTY IMAGES to slowly change or develop (verb) Josiah's lemonade stand started as a hobby, but it evolved into a real business. . But a team’s sense of community will never change. “We call it a family,” Ananda says. “It’s really great, because we always have each other’s backs.”

Look Up!


There are different types of lion dances. One of them is called jong. In this one, lion dancers do tricks on poles more than eight feet tall. The dancers use their acrobatic skills. They also use martial-arts skills.