Culture is among the aspects of life that travels widely in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) community. As an APEC summit of 21 economies concluded in San Francisco, California this week, where participants discussed how they can better connect with one another, a colorful dance practice synonymous with Chinese culture continues to surge in popularity in Mexico.
The lion dance is said to bring good luck, prosperity and abundance wherever it is performed. It's a tradition that has been exported around the world. Here, it's on show in Mexico City to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant; and it's indeed a big crowd-pleaser.
Oscar Vasquez lives in Mexico City and he loves how the dancers move like gymnasts. He described the movement of the lion's head, and the opening of its eyes and mouth in coordination with the rest of the body as really magical.
Monserrat Aliaga is a resident of Mexico City. Dancing with the performers and taking pictures put her in a good mood. She said they were great with children, and helped different cultures to mix and unite.
Onlooker Vanesa Quijada found it similar to Mexican festivities.
A lion dance performance attracts attention from the passersby on the street in Mexico City. /CGTN
As this Asian tradition grows in fame, Mexico's lion dancers are the ambassadors of this cultural phenomenon. The Xinkuan Shi dance troupe trains weekly in another part of the capital, led by Alex Rangel, the group's founder. "China's lion dance is a tradition that attracts prosperity and abundance. It repels negative energy and envy, and attracts good luck and prosperity," Rangel said.
While these performers may make it look easy, it's a discipline that requires both strength and technique.
The lion dance has always been known for the physical strength and coordination required for team efforts. "It's physically exhausting and requires a lot of ability, but it's an incredible experience because each dancer brings their own style to the dance," Rangel said.
A drum used by the Xinkuan Shi dance troupe to practice and perform in Mexico City. /CGTN
The group has performed at festivals and competitions across North America, having learned their discipline from Chinese immigrants to continent. As Mexico absorbs this Chinese tradition into its own national culture, it's a source of pride for this dance troupe that their members are all Mexican.