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San Francisco and the Bay Area News & History

Lunar New Year is prime time for The City's li...
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Norman Lau, founder of Lion Dance Me, during rehearsal in San Francisco on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024.

This time of year, Norman Lau is just running on pure adrenaline.

Such is the life of the owner and lead performer of one of San Francisco’s largest lion and dragon dance studios, LionDanceME.

“Right now, I’m just tired,” he told The Examiner while driving to a performance at the Genentech offices in South San Francisco, one of roughly 200 shows the company is putting on across the Bay Area and Las Vegas over a five-week span.

Lion and dragon dances — staples of Lunar New Year celebrations — are two of the most popular and historical forms of Chinese entertainment.

Companies like Lau’s are annually booked for hundreds of acts around the region during Lunar New Year, whether for parades or corporate events, which means Lau’s days have been filled with changing in and out of heavy lion and dragon dance gear, performing intense stunts and hustling from one event to the other.

The art of lion and dragon dancing

Lunar New Year is prime time for The City's lion and dragon dancers


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