Dancers Bring Luck to LSS

Those who are attending our annual fundraiser – Taste of Cultures – on March 5 just may find themselves going home with a little extra luck, health, and future happiness.

After all, an Asian Lion Dance will be performed that night, and according to ancient tradition, this dance brings all manner of good fortune to those who witness it.

Zon Tran, a leader of the Sioux Falls Lion Dance group, explained the origin of the dance, “The original mythical dance was performed to scare away a monster that kept bothering a small village in China.”

In order to protect the village, a monk tied a ribbon around the head of the monster and tamed it, Tran said. Through the years, the story was kept alive through a dance and drum performance that is believed to bring good luck to holidays and special events.

Lion Dancers

Lion Dances stem from an ancient Chinese myth. 

Tran, born in Vietnam, moved to Sioux Falls 36 years ago. For the last 21 years, he has worked as a physical therapist at Sanford. He said the local group started the Lion Dance team 11 years ago “as a way to teach our children and to educate the public on our culture.”

The dance is performed to the beat of drums, meant to symbolize the beating heart of a lion, Tran said.  The lion caretaker represents the mythical monk while loud cymbals are meant to scare away evil spirts.

Tran’s group performing at Taste of Cultures will include a total of 13 people: five dancers, two lions, and a six-person drum line.

“It is very physically challenging for dancers and drummers to keep up with the physical nature of the lion. But that is the challenge we love,” Tran said.

In addition to the Lion Dance, Taste of Cultures will also offer three other entertainment groups: Asian Night Live, Celtic Steps, and Ky Vien Pagoda Dance Team. Each group will offer music or dance routines from their own cultures – from Ireland to Asia.

Tickets for Taste of Cultures are now sold out. Thank you to all who are coming to support the work of LSS!

I don’t think I should personally vouch for attendees’ good luck : ), but I do know for sure that a greater fortune will come to those who benefit from the fundraiser – new refugees who need groceries, rent, furniture, bus passes, and seasonal clothing.

Most of us are already quite fortunate. Let us pass on our good fortune to others!

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson

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