Extra, extra: the lion inside.

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Touching the lion for luck – good habits start young!

Chinese New Year Lion Dances are a thing to behold when they are performed by an accomplished dance troupe.  Paying for a lion dance to be performed at your home or business is believed to bestow luck and fortune for the coming year, and normally there will be two or three lions dancing at any given dance.

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Lions on parade.

I was in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah over the Chinese New Year period earlier this year, and we were fortunate enough to catch a truly spectacular lion dance.  We could hear the rhythmic drumming and the clashing of gongs and cymbals from the streets outside our hotel, and our curiosity was piqued. We suspected it was a lion dance, but didn’t know where it was happening or how much of it would be left to watch.  So we quickly grabbed cameras, bags, baby travel bag, baby sling, and all the other clutter it seems you need for even the shortest trip out with a baby and hit the pavement to see what we could see.

In fact, what we found was a full-blown lion dance extravaganza at the tourist information centre.  There were at least a dozen lions.  Most of the time there were only three lions dancing simultaneously, but when the dance was drawing to a close and all the lions were parading together it was just fantastic to watch.

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Showing off their best moves.

This exceptional lion dance was the first thing that sprang to mind for this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge, to share ‘a photo that has a little something extra’. In this case, extra lions!

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Under the mask….

We stood watching the members of the dance troupe emerge from their costumes after the finale of the dance, and it made me wonder what they were like. Who were the people on the inside?  Were they extrovert ‘look at me’ types; were they bursting with pride from the special honour of performing in a lion dance troupe; did they like hiding behind the costumes and putting on the character of the lion over their own outer self?

It brought to mind a great quote by the wonderful late actress, Ingrid Bergman, where she professes to be ‘the shyest human ever invented, but I had a lion inside me that wouldn’t shut up!‘.  Certainly not what you would expect of one of the greatest leading ladies of old Hollywood. A little extra insight about her personality perhaps, and something that you might never have guessed watching her immaculately poised performances in films like Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Anastasia.

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