Effortlessly twirling and leaping, these acrobats are amazing… even outside of their costumes!

The New Year is celebrated rather differently by the Chinese, often accompanied by loud firecrackers and everyone dressed in lively reds to usher in a fortuitous new beginning.

But perhaps the biggest thing that sets it apart from most New Year festivals is the traditional lion dance, where two performers in costume leap and dance across elevated pedestals to mimic a playful lion.

▼ No Chinese New Year is truly complete without one.

But not many people get to see behind-the-scenes, where performers practice for hours on end to drill their routine down to acrobatic perfection.

▼ These dancers can put gymnasts to shame.

Trusting their partners completely and landing with calculated precision that only comes with years of practice, the absence of costumes drives home the fact that the spirited lion dances we see boils down to pure human skill.

▼ Here’s an entire lion dance routine without the lion.

Yet despite all that hard work and practice, all it takes is a slip or a moment’s distraction to end the show.

▼ As shown in the opening seconds of this video.

▼ Let’s not forget about accidentally knocked down pedestals.

▼ But once perfected, the shows are nothing short of spectacular.

Japanese netizens were quite astounded by the way the dancers leaped and sailed through the air with ease:

“Do these guys even know what gravity is?”
“Those reverse somersaults are awesome.”
“It’s as if they have wires attached to their bodies to make them fly.”
“They’re not lions, they seem more like dragons!”

We can’t help but be amazed by how these dancers perform gravity-defying tricks and stunts that make us think they have jetpacks strapped or springs hidden in their shoes. Most of the performances are free, too, so be sure to check out these acrobatic lion dances at your local Chinatown when Chinese New Year rolls around.

Source: YouTube/Admin Jamie via Kotaro
Top image: YouTube/makanfree
Insert image: YouTube/BB Lion Dance

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