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[Video] A Múa Lân Performer on Becoming One With the Lion

Whether it's the eve of Tet or the Mid-Autumn Festival, the opening of a new business or some other auspicious occasion, Saigon’s lion dance troupes, like their counterparts across the country, are tasked with bringing luck and prosperity to the people and places in which they perform.

Wherever you are in the city, you’ll hear them before you see them: the troupe's crashing cymbals and banging drums are signs of a forthcoming holiday. However the skill and coordination required in transforming two people into the dance’s eponymous, sequin-covered creature does not stop when the music ends; some groups train year-round to hone their craft.

Dung, an eight-year veteran of the art, belongs to a District 5 troupe specializing in Mai Hoa Thung, a form of lion dance performed on high pillars. He shares with Saigoneer the story of his introduction to lion dance, his passion for the art, and his hope to preserve one of Vietnam’s most famous holiday traditions.

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