Lion dancer to roar onto global stage

TYSON Fan was a self-confessed, quiet kid who “didn’t have a place” until he discovered lion dancing.

Some seven years later, the 16-year-old Belmore Boys High School student is bound for the land of his cultural heritage to represent Australia at the Hong Kong Public Schools Lion Dance competition at the end of June.
“When I was younger, I was at Campsie RSL and a bunch of lion dancers came in and I said to my grandma, that looks so cool. I want to learn how to do that as a joke,” Tyson said.
The coach of that lion dancing troupe was Johnny Leung whose father was a friend of Tyson’s grandma who hails from Hong Kong, although Tyson’s parents were born in Australia.
Meeting Tyson inspired Mr Leung to create Lion Dance Kids and Tyson quickly became one of its star performers.
Lion dancing has helped Tyson to come out of his shell and connect with his Chinese cultural heritage.
“After I found lion dancing, I could bond with my own people,” he said.
“I had intense training, every day for six hours.”
He says he loves how they make the lion become alive; the drumming and athleticism also have great appeal but, best of all, he “gets to fly”.
“When the back of the tail lifts you and throws you across the room, you come up in the air and feel just the breeze,” he said.
“It’s hard to learn but very interesting.”
Belmore High Principal Hala Ramadan said she was really thrilled for Tyson and public education that he was able to represent, not just his cultural background but his school and his country in Hong Kong.
““We’re a school of about 35 language backgrounds. It’s important for me that every student in this school has the opportunity to show off their cultural pride,” she said.