The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Sunday, Feb. 10 with a traditional lion dance performance by the Southern Sea Dragon and Lion Dance Association.The colorful, acrobatic and lively performance will begin at noon at the Village’s square.
Unlike Western cultures, the Chinese and many Asian cultures celebrate the new year at the beginning of the Lunar calendar with a two week long celebration—in 2019, the Year of the Pig, the celebration stretches from Feb 5 through Feb. 19.
Roger Look started the Southern Sea Dragon and Lion Dance Association 10 years ago with college friends at UC San Diego, looking to focus on the traditional dances.
“It started to get bigger and we decided to make it a community organization, not just for college students,” Look said.
The group now has over 50 participants from all over San Diego County, including students from UC San Diego and San Marcos High School.
“We accept any member who has the time and dedication to learn the physical and difficult art,” said Look, noting the youngest member of the group learning the craft is six years old.
The Feb. 10 performance at the Village will feature the traditional lion dance. “The myth is that the creature scares away evil spirits and brings good luck and prosperity to onlookers,” Look said.
The dancing is accompanied by percussion instruments—Look said the drumbeat represents the heartbeat of the lion, while the symbols and gongs represent its roar. Often the traditional dance is accompanied by firecrackers to further scare off evil spirits— however, firecrackers are not allowed in San Diego.
The lions and dragons used by the group are made out of paper mache and bamboo, handmade and hand-painted overseas. The lion is supported by two people, while their sea dragon by 10 or more.
Look said the Lunar New Year is the busiest time of the year for the group. Throughout the year they are called upon to perform at parades, festivals, weddings, birthdays, business openings and any special event, to usher in good luck.
As part of the event, Fresh Brothers Pizza will be offering free samples from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch is located at 13490 Pacific Highlands Ranch Pkwy, San Diego, 92130.