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High school dragon-dancing troupe sets off on island tour

2012/06/30 18:58:16

Taipei, June 30 (CNA) A troupe of dragon dancers from a senior high school in Miaoli County embarked on a 10-day tour around Taiwan on Saturday in a bid to promote the traditional folk performance.

The 70-member troupe, comprising students and teachers from Jhou-Lan Experimental Senior High School and community members, gave a performance before they left from Yuching Temple in the northern county.

The “dancing dragons,” decorated with lotus-flower scales, were enthusiastically applauded by the spectators.

Dance coach Chen Ming-hsin said the troupe will travel 1,200 km around Taiwan, averaging 120 km a day.

"The performances will vary, depending on the time and venue," Chen said.

For example, at night the dragons will be lit by LED lights to add a twist to the performance, he said. The group will also give longer performances in Taichung, Yunlin, Tainan, Pingtung, Hualien, Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu, he said.

The dancers are scheduled to perform outside the Presidential Office in Taipei on July 6, and will stage their final dance of the tour in the courtyard of the Miaoli County government July 9.

Chen said that he was “pleased to have the islandwide tour in the Year of the Dragon." Participation in the group helps the students to stay fit and to promote the traditional folk performance, he said.

The troupe has won several competitions in Asia in recent years,according to the Miaoli County government.

The dancers are trained in martial arts, which helps bring beauty to their performance, said the local government, which has provided a subsidy of NT$2 million (US$67,069) to fund the tour.

Members of the troupe said they are well prepared and are excited about the tour, although it will be an arduous one in the summer heat.

"Taking part in such a tour in the Year of the Dragon is a dream comes true," said the group leader Chen Ying-chen. “It is a rare experience and a personal challenge.”

(By Kuan Jui-ping and Lilian Wu)
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