WORDS: David Simons PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied by Pacific Fair

Lunar New Year is a time for celebration

I recently had the opportunity to join the Mantis Kung Fu Academy’s professional Lion Dance troupe for the Lunar New Year. Delivering spectacular performance after performance, day after day, they brought smiles to people’s faces and love to their hearts.

We entered Pacific Fair Shopping Centre performing our 6th show there this year, welcoming in The Year of the Green Wood Dragon. I love dragons so this year I was full of energy to bring it in. The year of prosperity, the year of greatness, the year of change. The Lunar New Year is celebrated worldwide with traditional Lion Dancing.

The lions are beautiful, and my role being the Lion Tamer is keeping them in line, because they misbehave ALL day long. Blinking eyes, wagging tails and flapping ears, the performers bring the lions to life, jumping and weaving through the crowd as Master Matthew Hansen beats the drum. Oh, the drum, boom boom boom!

All eyes are on us: red, yellow, green, pink, purple, blue, white, and black lions – this is Black and Blue MANTIS Kung Fu and the athletes in the lions are high-grade premium players dedicated to bringing the spirit of good fortune and prosperity to all.

During this event we all experience a rare treat, the emergence of the Dragon! Master Adam Hansen leads his five-man team to bring the Dragon to life, the Dragon wakes and begins to move, twisting and winding through the lions and the crowd, dazzling all onlookers. Oh, how I love the Dragon. Majestic!

Pacific Fair erupts into a loud colourful parade of 5,000 years of tradition!

Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu has a rich heritage beginning in the late Ming Dynasty more than three hundred years ago. Lion Dance is very much a part of the cultural heritage and traditional practices of the Hakka people who developed the system.

Sifu’s Matthew and Adam have been keeping the spirit and tradition of Southern Praying Mantis alive for more than 35 years and performing with the Black & Blue Mantis Kung Fu Academy’s Lion Dance Troupe has been a true honour and privilege.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone, we hope you all have a happy, healthy year and make it happen in The Year of the Dragon.