Amid the cacophony of clashing cymbals and beating drums, she felt like part of a big family.
But 13-year-old Norahimah Haja is not the only one with an interest in lion dance.
Her two friends, Muhd Fitri Mohd Noor, 13, and Chua Tian Yi, 14, share the same interest.
The trio are part of a troupe of lion dancers who performed the traditional Chinese dance at Bukit Merah Central Food Centre on Saturday, as part of their annual outreach programme during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
The volunteer lion dance troupe is largely made up of non-Chinese teenagers from the People's Association Teens Network Club @ Bukit Merah.
Norahimah and Fitri, who joined the troupe three years ago to keep themselves occupied after school, said the cultural experience has been enjoyable.
Said Fitri: "At first, I was curious to know what lion dance is all about. So I signed up and went for practice and haven't missed any ever since."
Norahimah said: "I made a lot of friends with people from other races through the troupe, and whenever I have nothing to do after school, I can just come down to the centre where we have our training and watch the performers practice."
The lead lion dancer of the troupe, Tian Yi, 14, who has been a member for nine years, said he enjoys sharing his culture with his fellow troupe members.
"Many of my friends are Malay and Indian, so during the Chinese New Year period, I teach them how to arrange the oranges to spell out certain Chinese characters.
"It's really fun when we all get together and perform," he said.
Chairman of the People's Association Teens Network Club @ Bukit Merah, Mr Victor Lee, is heartened that lion dancing has brought together a group of multicultural teenagers who work well as a team.
"This is an excellent example of young people who develop values such as self-discipline and respect for one another," said Mr Lee.
"It is important that they understand the culture diversity in Singapore and embrace it."
Drenched in sweat after the performance, Tian Yi said: "I'm very proud to be part of this troupe because even though we are from different races, we can come together to put on a good show."
I made a lot of friends with people from other races through the troupe.
This article was first published on February 22, 2016.
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