Throwback Thursday: Dragon Dance AAJA Practice

Profile on GK Dragons as we practiced for the Asian American Journalists Association Gala in 2009
Profile on GK Dragons as we practiced for the Asian American Journalists Association Gala in 2009 by Daniel Sato.

Check out the video piece by Daniel Sato as we prepare for a performance.

The lion that roars into the opening reception Wednesday evening boasts a distinctive voice — that of female power and creativity. Named after the Chinese word for heroine, the troupe is the only all-female lion and dragon performance group in the country. The Boston-based troupe of more than two dozen performers celebrated its 10th year last fall.

[source: Daniel Sato]

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Thursday Night: Lion Dance Practice

Gund Kwok Asian Women's Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe

The jump ropes we ordered had arrived! So with that, we started the practice off with some stretching leading into circuit training.

We did 3 reps of:

  • 2-minute jump rope
  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 squats
  • 20 sit-ups

And then, we finished off with some planks — regular, side, and back.

Properly warmed-up, we then split into two teams.

Team A continued with refining an upcoming wedding performance routine. And, Team B worked on the horse stance, drills, and some head tossing.

Another great practice session!

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Refinements and back-to-basics

Gund Kwok Asian Women's Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe
Refining a routine for an upcoming performance and making sure that before we do anything that we’ve got the horse stance down first

We switched it up a bit during our warm-ups — incorporated some nice circuit training which got our hearts pumping. We did some laps around the space, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and burpees…over and over again 😛

After doing some final stretch-outs, we broke off into two teams. Team A practiced for an upcoming wedding performance and Team B worked on refining some core moves like the “horse stance”…

an important posture in Asian martial arts and takes its name from the position assumed when riding a horse. It is called mǎbù (馬步) in Chinese, kiba-dachi (騎馬立ち?) in Japanese, kuda-kuda in Indonesian, kekuda in Malay, asvavadivu in Malayalam, and juchum seogi or annun seogi (lit. sitting stance) in Korean. This stance can not only be integrated into fighting but also during exercises and forms. It is most commonly used for practicing punches or to strengthen the legs and back.Read More

It was a great night…albeit a tad bit humid.

I think it’s safe to say that summer is finally here 🙂

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Practice Drill Face-Offs and Clean-Up

lion dance drills
two, three, and four 1-minute face-offs

This week’s work-out was brought to you by sprints, burpees, ab crushers, face-offs, and…den clean-up!

My quads are still sore from last night’s warm-up and face-off drills. We did all this while also Clorox-ing the heck out of our music room which houses all the drums, cymbals, benches, and other gear. The clean-up was only part two of the effort as our dragon dance teammates worked on the other half of the space the other week.

It was definitely a team effort.

After a pretty intense warm-up of cardio, sprints and a whole lot of abs, we started moving all the stuff from the music room out. And while we were waiting for the Clorox to dry out, we got some lion heads and went on to do some drills for a minute, facing-off from two lions which then somehow increased to three and then four.

Toward the end, we threw in some jump and lift training.

Before we knew it, time was up. We bowed out together to end practice and then, of course, some of us went for some much-needed chow.

Great night all-in-all 🙂

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Burpees and a Dash of Ab Crusher

Gund Kwok Lion Dancers Do Some Burpees
Let’s do some burpees, ladies!

It was time to switch up some of our lion dance warm-ups and so we worked in a ‘game’ of Burpees. Lying down, we had to push ourselves up and then hop up.

After some cardio and stretching, we moved into our usual ab workout. But this time, we added some ‘Ab Crushers.”

Everyone was definitely feeling the burn.

Can’t wait to try out some other new exercises next week 🙂

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Lion Dance Warm-Up Re-Cap

We have some new teams preparing for upcoming performances and we need all the time we can get in order to practice, practice, and practice some more. But before we get down to business, we always go through a 1.5 hour warm-up — cardio, stretching, and ab exercises.

On this night, the featured exercise of the evening was the plank, aka ‘elbow plank.’

The Plank


According to FitSugar: This is a killer move for your core, legs, and upper body. When holding Elbow Plank, be sure your shoulders are stacked over your elbows and your body is in one straight line:

  • Start on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees
  • Step your feet out one at a time, coming into a plank position.
  • Contract your abs to prevent your booty from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor, with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
  • Hold 30 seconds, and work your way up to one minute as you get stronger.

To learn more about this and other forms of the plank, visit FitSugar.

We were calling each other on form left and right. And so we did more than what we usually do. We should’ve had a plank-a-thon 🙂

Next time!


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