Monthly Archives: April 2012

UCLA ACA Lion Dance

When I first heard about UCLA’s ACA Lion Dance in 2011, I almost squealed with joy. A lion dance team at the school I was going to! How exciting is that? Unfortunately, the first academic quarter was way too hectic for me to check out their practices. After settling in though, I got the chance to do so.

The team was formed in the early 2000’s by four people. Of these four people, I know one personally and the other is the brother of one of my friends. There are actually some pretty complicated connections between this team and a few other teams, which influences the structure of the practices.

Practices take place in an underground parking garage on campus. Many people come early to relax and chat with others. Once a good number of students show up, the coordinators scream “Rows and Columns!” which signals for everyone to line up. Another scream of “Ready, hut!” and every member is doing the standardized team salute.

Relaxing and chatting.

Doing the standardized team salute.

Immediately after, the team warms up with jumping jacks and stretches.

Warming up with jumping jacks.


Occasionally, a parking enforcement officer may decide to drive his truck into the garage and induce some paranoia amongst people.

Paranoia ensues.

After the stretching, a series of low, medium, and high horse stances are practiced. Both arms are extended in front while a flicking motion is done by the wrist.

Practicing horse stance.

Afterwards, a semicircle is formed for drumming and cymbaling practice. I’ve never seen them bring a gong though, which makes me wonder if they ever use one. In fact, I wonder if they even have one anymore.

Practicing drumming and cymbaling.

The team utilizes both Fut San and Hok San drumming with an added twist. Many members clap their hands as a substitute for using cymbals. This is actually a good way to practice, since cymbal clashing can get significantly louder than the drum, especially when there are a large number of cymbals.

The team coordinators leading practice.

After drumming and cymbaling is the fun stuff! Woot woot! Usually, the team breaks up into two groups – newbies and veterans. The coordinators then split up to supervise each group. Lion movements are practiced for the remainder of the class.



Practicing basic movements.

Andy and Steven practicing stunts.

Ashley and Leo practicing a single leg stack.

James and Steven practicing the dip.

UCLA ACA Lion Dance. RAWR!

Another Update on Ace

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on Ace, so here it goes!

During winter break, I was able to paint most of Ace’s right side, including his cheeks, gills, and all the corresponding fins.

After winter break ended, I didn’t get to see Ace until my spring break, which just ended today. I was able to paint a little bit more during this short week.

I also painted a preliminary Zhao Pai. The two characters are Ai Si, which just sounds like a Chinese pronunciation of Ace. Thanks to my fluent Chinese friends for helping me with this one.

Notice that there is a lot of white space on the sides of the characters. I want to fill this white space up so the Zhao Pai doesn’t look too plain. Also, the gap between the two characters is huge. I already started the process of fixing this before the break ended. If you guys have any other ideas on the Zhao Pai, leave it in the comments please. Thanks!