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Training with the Champions

On Sunday 7th August a group of us (David Richardson, Charlotte Burkinshaw, Zena Winn, Euan Thay & Charlotte Powell) travelled to Epsom near London to spend the day with Nam Yang the current British Champion Lion Dancers.
Our main aim was to practice and improve our lifts and to learn a new Pot Dance, and to also understand the basics of Flying Lion. The Pots represent obstacles to be passed such as stepping stones over a river or climbing up a rock face.

During our day we trained with Nam Yang’s David Fidgett (back of lion) and Jack Eve (Front of lion).  They started off by teaching us the basic lifts when the front of the Lion lands on the thighs of the person behind (rear of the Lion). After achieving this we then progressed to landing on one leg. This required a lot of precision with a high jump and a fair amount of balance.

After getting the idea of the less challenging jumps, Euan and I started doing higher more demanding lifts that involved Euan jumping and me lifting him onto my head. With the Lion head and skin on this looked spectacular and resulted in Euan being about 9 feet off the ground.

Once we started to achieve this, we began to feel more confident and so were then instructed in a new Dance, using pots. Previously when we used pots, we only used three of them, and these signified stepping stones up to the green “Cheng”.

This new dance included nine pots, which was much more than we were used to, with greater distances between each pot, making it a more difficult set up.
Before we would walk across the pots, the lads from Nam Yang showed us a routine that included the lifts that we had learnt that day. This new routine also incorporated the lift onto the head and jumps that required turning around and jumping backwards while keeping in time and without falling off the pots.
The greater gaps between the pots were covered by “Flying Lion”. This meant combining a jump that not only covered height but distance too. This proved to be very difficult at first but with the help of David Fidgett and Jack Eve, Euan and I eventually got the basics of the flying lion.

Now we have the knowledge and experience of the flying lion we can take these skills back to our academy and practice them until we are at a good enough level to do a worthy performance.

Over the years since Sil lum kune started lion dance Sifu Paul burkinshaw and I, plus various team members have trained and performed with our Kung Fu / Lion Dance  friends from Nam Yang Pugilistic Association many times and will continue to learn new skills to enhance our teachers and performers knowledge and abilities.

written by David Richardson