Feature: Young Namibian dancers master Chinese dragon and lion dances

Updated: February 18, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Dancers studying at the University of Namibia perform at the "Happy Spring Festival" party in Windhoek, Namibia, on Jan. 20, 2024. (Photo by Musa Kaseke/Xinhua)

WINDHOEK, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- During the Chinese New Year, a group of passionate young Namibian dancers studying at the University of Namibia achieved a stunning feat by mastering the intricate art of dragon and lion dances, showcasing dedication, perseverance and cross-cultural exchange.

Over the past eight months, this dynamic ensemble devoted themselves to rigorous training, presenting a performance that seamlessly integrates the Namibian spirit with the rich traditions of Chinese culture.

Kula Rodriguez, president of the University of Namibia (UNAM) dance society who also owns a local dance studio, shared insights into their journey, saying, "We have been practicing the dragon and lion dances for eight months now. It has been a long process that started last year and has followed us all the way until now."

To master various Chinese dances, Rodriguez and other professional dancers, versed in various dance genres, conducted extensive research on Chinese culture. Their initial performance with the Confucius Institute at UNAM paved the way for 12 subsequent captivating performances, including engagements with the Chinese business community.

"We have had multiple encounters with the Chinese business community, performing for them. These experiences have given us the ability to properly represent the Chinese society, the Chinese community, and everything else," he said.

The dragon and lion dances, deeply rooted in Chinese folklore, are often performed during festive occasions, and the Namibian dancers' journey highlights the power of cultural exchange and the universal language of dance in fostering connections and understanding.

"We performed a dragon Kung Fu dance for the Chinese embassy for the Spring Festival. So the first section mainly involved us dancing and showcasing our performing skills. And the second section was an interaction with the lions, along with also learning to do what we do," he explained after a performance on Friday, at the Spring Festival Temple Fair.

According to Rodriguez, as a professional dancer, he recommends people consider joining dance because it is very different, especially when it comes to Chinese performances.

"I would recommend you to watch to get a good idea and a good grasp of Chinese culture because it takes a lot for you to be properly represented correctly, and you would not want to feel misrepresented by someone who is not part of your culture. So we try our best to always be on point," he added.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez said some of their future plans include participating in the world championships, which are coming up in June.

"Our professional dance group is opening its very own dance academy, and we will also be hosting tryouts for any new dancers or any experienced dancer who would like to join the crew and learn to do what we do, to also be able to do it," he said. 


Dancers studying at the University of Namibia perform at the "Happy Spring Festival" party in Windhoek, Namibia, on Jan. 20, 2024. (Photo by Musa Kaseke/Xinhua)

Editor: Yang Linlin