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Choy Lay Fut and Lion Dance combine to create heartbeat of Chinatown in dance team

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) — Behind the metal red doors on Bowery Street, of a building that looks like it could be vacant, in what feels like an old firehouse inside, but used to be a McDonald’s…If you listen closely you can hear the heartbeat of Chinatown.

“The first thing I remembered when I was a kid, I felt it in my chest. And it was just like, it was so loud my heart instantly started pumping,” said Brian Yeung, NY Choy Lay Fut Dance Team.

Pumping that beat is the New York Choy Lay Fut Dance Team.

It’s made up of mostly high schoolers who are all from Chinatown.

“I love it. This is what drives me. It’s the younger generation,” said Master Wilson Ng, dance team teacher.

He pairs Lion Dance with Choy Lay Fut, a deadly martial art.

“Even Bruce Lee back in the ’70s said there’s no other martial arts you need to worry about but Choy Lay Fut,” Ng said. “It’s all combat. It’s long fist. You swing out; you get the extension of your arm. If you can imagine a rope is your arm and a rock is your fist, and when you swing it you get a lot of power.”

When you combine it with Lion Dance it’s not only physically demanding, but it also requires teamwork.

“I just have to trust him. Trust where he’s going, so I don’t run into stuff,” said Aaran Chan, a NY Choy Lay Fut Dance Team member.

It also involves musicality.

“The hardest part with the head I would say making the descriptions on the face. Giving the lion personality, you kind of just have to hear it,” Chan said.

You’ll hear them dancing down Mott Street at the Lunar New Year Parade.


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