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Lion Dancers Herald Year of the Snake

Asian culture and lesson show off traditions.

The lion dance presented by Ten Tigers Kung Fu Academy in Huntington Station swept away the negativity of the last year at the South Huntington Public Library on Sunday.

The Asian New Year, which falls on Feb. 10 this year and is the year of the snake, is a way to start the year with a clean slate. According to Chinese tradition, the lion, which is a furry red and black creature with big eyes, represents a beast that takes away the negativity and brings positivity. To bring the positivity, audience members were given little red envelopes to feed to the lions that passed, as a way to bring good luck.

"The dance in general is a lot of fun," Belynda Ungurath, a performer of Ten Tigers Kung Fu Academy, said.

Aside from a fun and interactive performance, it also brings a new culture to the community.

"It brings Chinese culture to a level where children can understand," said Jean Salas, of Huntington, who went to the event with her children.

Children were shown how the lion, which is operated by two people underneath a costume, works. Those performing batted the lion's eyes and flapped its ears as a way to make the children laugh.

"When you get under the lion head, it's like you become the lion," Blossom
Ungurath, Belynda's sister who also performs with Ten Tigers Kung Fu, said. "There's a story. The lion takes away bad luck and gives you good luck."

After the lion dance, audience members continued to sit in their seats, as they were told about Chinese traditions, the Dark Ages of China and how China has rebuilt itself into a main part of modern society.

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