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The Dragon Dance

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My name is Stephen Ornellas and I'm the teacher at the Liverpool Hung Gar Kung Fu School. I started teaching properly in 1989 due to my teacher Jimmy Chan dying he unfortunately died of cancer in 1989. I was sort of nominated by the Chinese community to keep the school going. So, ever since 1989 I've basically just run the school on my own. It's been hard work but it's been worth it, you know. Hopefully, I've kept the school going and everyone in the Chinese community is happy with what I've done. Being sort of, white English, it's a Chinese culture, it's a Chinese thing that we do and when you are doing somebody else's culture, like the lion dance or Kung Fu, I suppose you've got to be extra good at it, because you're always open to criticism. I think that the Chinese community have come to terms with me teaching, infact some of them actually look at me as being Chinese. I've been doing it that long. And we all get on really well. They support me and I support them every year by coming out doing the Chinese New Year. I'm Tom, I'm a student in the club. I've trained here for about 7 or 8 years. This is the alter of the club. We offer tea and also josh sticks for the General Kwan who is the God of Kung Fu, for the ancestors and for Jimmy Chan who is Sifu Sifu. It's just an offering. A sign of respect. We offer fruit, tea and josh sticks. We bow 3 times, we always do 3 bows, there's 3 cups of tea, there's 3 things on the alter, the General, the ancestors and Jimmy, who is Sifu Sifu. So it always comes in 3's. It's like 3 is a lucky number in Chinese. When my teacher was alive he was a firm in that anybody could learn martial arts. So basically what he used to say was, it doesn't matter whether you're poor or rich you should be able to train. So we only charge £3.00 for a 2 hour lesson, which if you look around Liverpool at the moment, that's really cheap. And we're not cheap because we want to look cheap, we're cheap because we want to be able to teach everybody. Is that door open? The things you do eh? Usually what we do is the lion dance, that's the main thing what earns. When we go out over Chinese New Year we've got like 50 odd shows to do this year. It's the lion that we take. But what's happened is, over the last 12 years we've also been performing the dragon dance. And how that come about was that the people in Shanghi, which is twinned with Liverpool, donated the first dragon. Which was like 10 people in a dragon. And that got used for like 12 years and it actually fell to pieces basically. What's happened now is they have actually given us another dragon, which is 70ft long. Now what that's caused, it's great, it's fantastic having a huge big dragon but we've got to find the man power and resources to do it like. So what we've been doing this year is teaching in St Georges Hall, they've kindly let us use their grounds in St Georges Hall or even inside when the weather has been not so good. We've been practicing and using people, anybody who wants to come down and learn the dragon. And it's been really good because you're getting people coming down who just want to do the dragon have been going out, keeping fit and taking part in Chinese New Year. You know, it's something to look forward to. I look forward to it personally, because, to me, I celebrate Chinese New Year more than I do English New Year. And it's like a fresh start. Once the Chinese New Year is out of the way, I feel like you can look forward to the summer, look forward to a new beginning. If you've got holidays, they are only round the corner, you know what I mean where as with English New Year, we've got a bit of the winter left. But after Chinese New Year, the flowers are coming up in the garden and everything looks a bit brighter. And yeah, I look forward to it.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 57 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Director: Tim Brunsden
Views: 282
Posted by: mrjonesy on Feb 10, 2010

The work that goes on behind Chinese New Year celebrations

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