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Lion Dance introduced to Bangladesh
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Chinese traditional Lion Dance performed by Bangladeshi professional players was introduced to Bangladesh for the first time recently and warmly welcomed by the locals who have seen it.

Liu Sanzhen, cultural counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh, is the first person who introduced the performance. Liu said when interviewed by Xinhua on Sunday he had planned to introduce the Lion Dance performance after taking office two years ago.

With the help and cooperation from concerned departments in China, two lion props were sent to Bangladesh in July 2006. The first Lion Dance was performed in Dhaka University at the party for celebration of Chinese Spring Festival last year.

Liu said there was no professional Lion Dance player at the moment, so he and one coach from Bangladesh Martial Arts Association performed the Lion Dance which had a strong response from the audience. The leading English newspaper The Daily Star reported the function and published several pictures about the Lion Dance.

Liu said after the performance, he thought it was very necessary to establish a professional Lion Dance team to express the essence of the dance.

"I contacted with some departments in China, and finally we invited coach from China Sports University Duan Xuewei to teach the Lion Dance in Bangladesh," he said.

Duan came to Bangladesh in October last year. His students are from Bangladesh Martial Arts Association. He gave several days of systematic training. After Duan left, the players practiced the Lion Dance following the VCD program.

Under Liu's proposal, Bangladesh Dragon-Lion Dance Association was established on December 5, 2007. There are 16 Lion Dance players now, out of them 4 are drummers and 12 are dancers in three groups.

After several months of preparation, Bangladesh Lion Dance team performed for the first time in a function to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival hosted by Bangladesh Martial Arts Assocation on January 17, 2008 in southeastern Chittagong city. The audience gave a big applause at the wonderful performance by Bangladeshi professional Lion Dance players.

Since that, the Lion Dance team performed in several functions, including the picnic party co-hosted by Bangladesh-China People's Friendship Association and Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh to celebrate the Spring Festival on Saturday.

Liu said they are looking for more chances to promote Chinese traditional culture, especially the Lion Dance. He said they are planning to introduce Dragon Dance after the Lion Dance gets a big market in Bangladesh.

Lion Dance is Chinese traditional folk culture, it has a history of 1900 years.

A total of 36 promotion events are planned for 2008.

(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)

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