Covid-19: Klang Valley Lion Dance Troupes set to perform again amid downturn in business due to strict SOPs (VIDEO) | The life

Members of the Qixin Lion Dance and Dragon Troupe adhere to the SOPs when performing while hoping for more performances to showcase their talents. – Photo via Wong Weng Wah

PETALING JAYA, January 27 – Chinese New Year celebrations are never complete without the lion dance performances we missed watching last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

This year, most of the lion dance troupes came back to life to deliver spectacular performances despite following strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Although the troupes have seen a drop in commercial income compared to previous years, they are delighted to be able to train and entertain the public with their learned tricks and skills.

malaysian mail spoke to a few lion dance groups in the Klang valley to see how they are doing and how they have been following the SOPs.

Kuala Lumpur Kun Seng Keng Lion Dance Troupe (KLKSK)

Lion dance performances for the KLKSK group have dropped by 50% since 2020. – Photo via Facebook/KLLKSK Lion Dance
Lion dance performances for the KLKSK group have dropped by 50% since 2020. – Photo via Facebook/KLLKSK Lion Dance

Located in Kampung Melayu Subang, Kun Seng Keng Lion Dance Group has been operating since 2011.

This year, their operating costs have increased by 10-20% as they have to cover expenses such as transportation costs and give their allowance to performers.

According to troop leader Cheong Kah Chun, only a certain number of people are allowed to be transported by truck, which means more money has to be spent on transportation.

“There’s a lot to look at, like performers’ meals, and we’ve also charged a bit more this year to cover our increased operating costs.

“In the meantime, our income has dropped by 50% compared to 2020 and we have to pay our rent, etc.

“We’ve also gone down in size as we now have two teams compared to five teams in 2020,” he said.

On a brighter note, the troupe had a gala moment performing the acrobatic double act with a magic show to entertain the audience at Gamuda Cove.

The group also tried to meet an overwhelming number of requests in shopping malls and corporate offices.

Ampang Xuan Long Dragon and Lion Dance

Among the places where Ampang Xuan Long has performed is the new Bukit Jalil pavilion branch.  - Photo via Facebook/Malaysia Xuan Long Sports Association
Among the places where Ampang Xuan Long has performed is the new Bukit Jalil pavilion branch. – Photo via Facebook/Malaysia Xuan Long Sports Association

Andrew Yap, coach of the Ampang Xuan Long Dragon and Lion Dance troupe, said running costs have increased by 30% since 2020.

“Renting a training space, utilities such as water and electricity are all expensive.

“Not only that, we also spent on new tires for our trucks as we just changed our new tires as all our tires were worn out during the motion control order and had to be replaced with new ones,” a- he declared. .

He also said business is down about 30-40% this year compared to 2020, but considers himself lucky to still be able to perform at malls such as Subang Jaya’s Da Men Mall and Bukit Jalil Pavilion. .

“Lion dance performances are not only concentrated during CNY festivities, as we also perform for weddings, some temple ceremonies.

“So hopefully we can generate more revenue on this other occasion.”

Regarding adherence to SOPs, he said all dancers can only perform once they have completed their booster doses and must observe social distancing while dancing.

Khuan Loke Dragon and Lion Dance Association

After playing in 50 different places a day, this lion dance group now performs in only 15 different places a day.  - Photo courtesy of Eric Fong
After playing in 50 different places a day, this lion dance group now performs in only 15 different places a day. – Photo courtesy of Eric Fong

Created more than 30 years ago, this lion dance group has won numerous international awards.

They have suffered a 50-60% revenue loss since 2020.

Coach Eric Fong said malaysian mail that before 2020, the team would perform in 50 different locations compared to this year.

“We had five teams before Covid-19 where two teams performed the acrobatic pole while the other three did the normal dance.

“But things have changed this year because in one day we can only perform in 10 to 15 places.

“Fortunately, we are still able to afford 30 of our dancers,” he said.

In terms of operational costs, Fong added that there had been a 10% increase in operational costs due to the purchase of new lion costumes, payment for transport to transport dancers from one place to another. .

Fong added that most of the time the team is required to pay and perform RTK antigen testing before proceeding.

“There are times when we have to cover our own RTK tests, but sometimes our customers also pay for us.

“We also experienced the cancellation of our eleventh hour lion dance show due to one of our guests contracting Covid-19.

“But we can’t help it and we just have to adapt and hope that we’ll be able to perform as well as we can,” he said.

Hong Yi Dragon and Lion Dance Association

Hong said many dancers on the team have ventured into other freelance jobs after being unable to work as full-time dancers during the shutdowns.  – Photo via Calvin Hong Weir Hahn
Hong said many dancers on the team have ventured into other freelance jobs after being unable to work as full-time dancers during the shutdowns. – Photo via Calvin Hong Weir Hahn

Based in Selayang Jaya, the association’s founder, Calvin Hong Weir Hahn, said the team’s running costs have dropped 25-30% this year.

“We lowered our prices this year due to low economic growth and we also have our own trucks to transport dancers from place to place.

“Several times we were lucky enough to get sponsorship to pay our rental and electricity costs.

“However, in business terms, we have dropped to 30-40% due to the limited number of clients calling us for performances.”

Hong added that 12 of his full-time dancers, who previously earned income through lion dance performances, have ventured into freelance jobs such as Grab drivers and online businesses.

“Many students found other jobs to support themselves while others stayed with us.

“We hope we can perform even after the CNY festivities for store opening ceremonies or weddings.

“Many businesses are also afraid to call us due to the strict SOPs in place and the fear of catching Covid-19,” he said.

Qixin lion dance and dragon troupe

Wong said the dance group is offering discounts worth 5% to customers so they can perform again.  - Photo via Wong Weng Wah
Wong said the dance group is offering discounts worth 5% to customers so they can perform again. – Photo via Wong Weng Wah

Established in 2019, this lion dance group located in Puchong has focused on training students interested in becoming full-time dancers.

Its founder Wong Weng Wah said malaysian mail that the dance group offered patrons discounts so they could perform amid the tight SOPs in place.

“There have been times when we’ve offered our customers cheaper packages so they’ll be happy and we can help pay our association’s rental and utility bill.

“If we get extra money, we will give it to our students as pocket money or a stipend for them.”

Some of the requirements they must meet before performing are making sure they have the proper license, wearing masks and respecting social distancing.

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