Orange County dance troupe keeps Asian traditions alive with Lunar New Year celebrations

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Thursday, February 15, 2024
Keeping cultural traditions alive during Lunar New Year
This dance troupe keeps Lunar New Year traditions alive for their performers and audience.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Dozens of Lunar New year celebrations took place across Southern California, with many showcasing elaborate and colorful dance teams. Members of one troupe in Santa Ana are doing all they can to keep cultural traditions alive.

"Traditional lion and dragon dance is basically from ancient China and is used to ward away evil spirits and bring in good energy for the New Year," said Austin Quach, founder and head coach of Qing Wei Lion & Dragon Dance Cultural Troupe.

The Qing Wei Lion & Dragon Dance Cultural Troupe started in 2018.

"We're drawn in because it's an aspect of our culture, being in the United States, the Western hemisphere, we tend to lose touch with our culture a little bit, so this is a nice way to kind of hone in and hold to our bit of our heritage," Quach said.

The performers are all full-time students or have full-time jobs, so they rehearse and perform in their free time. Many say the troupe helps them stay in touch with their roots.

"Coming from a boarding school in the Midwest, I lost a lot of contact with my Asian culture, so I tried to come back to it during college," performer Adam Nguyen said.

Related story: Celebrate Lunar New Year with the 125th Golden Dragon Parade

It also helps them physically.

"I get so used to lifting a 10, 15 pound lion now. A lot of strength, my stamina, has gotten so much better," performer Nancy Truong said.

"Every single costume you see is handmade, handcrafted, hand painted," Quach said. "That refers to the frame, the inside, the papering; even the sewing on the tail is all done by hand."

Qing Wei is free to be part of, and they are always looking for new members to share their Asian pride.