Lion dancers light up Paris's Chinese New Year festivities
Catherine Drew

A wintry afternoon in Paris hasn't deterred members of the LDFA Academy from rehearsals with lion dancers and musicians warming up in the traditional way. 

"We celebrate many things through the lion dance. Weddings, festivals and New Year's Day," says one of the dancers, Jean-Luc. "Of course, we perform everywhere to bring joy, happiness, and ideally to chase away bad spirits."

This group has been honing their New Year's performance for months now, preparing to let go of the past and welcome the Year of the Rabbit.

"We know that we bring happiness and prosperity to people through our performance, and the happier people are, the more it motivates us to put more into our performances," says Christine Hu, a musician from the troop.

"Those inside the lions don't see it, but they hear it," she adds, "so hearing people's reactions motivates them to do more, more dancing, more jumping."


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All generations are encouraged to participate at this special time for families, with this celebration the glue that holds this community together.

"My grandparents lived here in this neighborhood and since childhood, seeing the dragon dancers, I loved it. It made me want to do it," says Calvina Ia, another member of the troop.

"And now we have our two little five-year-old cousins who are also starting to dance with us. Almost the whole family is there. I wanted to stay close to my roots," he adds.

And as the flames from tributes to the dead rise, so do hopes of a 2023 full of peace, abundance and prosperity.

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