Tony Shiu's West Coast Lion Dance troupe shares traditional customs and culture

ByChris Bollini Localish logo
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Lion dance troupe shares traditional customs and culture
Traditional lion dancing entertains and educates with music and movement.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tony Shiu and his West Coast Lion Dance troupe perform in various venues during Lunar New Year.

"We go around and we bring good luck to whomever we perform for," Shiu shares.

Sharing traditional customs and culture, Shiu wants to educate as well as entertain.

"I love sharing this part of my culture," Shiu says.

Percussion and drum music accompany lion dancing performances.

"The evil spirits, they're attracted to the music. It's disturbing their rest, so they come out to investigate, and then, they meet the lion," Shiu explains. "And the lion has a mirror on its forehead and once the evil spirits see themselves, it scares them away."

During the show, the lion also devours a head of lettuce and sprinkles pieces of it on the audience.

"He likes to spread his luck," Shiu reveals. "Anybody who gets hit by the lettuce it brings them good luck for the rest of the Chinese New Year."

His passion for lion dancing started when he was child and today, at 61, he's still performing.

"When I see the smiles on the faces, that's good enough for me," Shiu says. "I know I did my job, to entertain them and hopefully they learn something from it."

To learn more, visit here.