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Lion dance rings in Chinese New Year

OCEANSIDE — Two brightly colored lions jumped, bobbed and rolled to drumbeats at MiraCosta College on Feb. 18, to ward off bad luck and welcome in the Chinese New Year. The traditional lion dance was followed by kung fu demonstrations and free platefuls of spring rolls and fried rice to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.
The lion dance performance by Shen Kung Fu Academy students is part of a monthlong series of events, sponsored by the International Film Series and Associated Student Government, that are geared to share the traditions and customs of China with the community, Aubrey Kuan Roderick an instructor of Chinese and advisor of the Chinese Club, said.
The lion dance circled through the crowd of spectators on the campus’ center lawn and inspired some students to form their own conga line and dance to the drumbeats.
“The red in the lion brings power and strength, and the green brings prosperity and wealth,” Mario Figueroa, instructor and owner of Shen Kung Fu Academy, said.
The dance performance was followed by kung fu routines executed with swords, fans and long staffs. Figueroa introduced each demonstration and described the practice of kung fu.
Lisa Walsh, of Carlsbad, watched the exhibition with her 5-year-old son. “It helped me learn the difference between kung fu, karate and taekwondo,” Walsh said. “And appreciate the stamina it takes to perform the moves.”
Kung fu is a holistic self-defense practice that involves mind and body, Figueroa said. It is practiced without aggression or a mean spirit. Taekwondo and karate are more combative.
“The lion dance was handed to martial artists to keep the tradition,” Figueroa said. Figueroa teaches students from 5 years old to adults how to perform the lion dance. Many of the dance moves are kung fu stances that require strength and kung fu training.
See video from the event at