The New Paper
Feb 4, 2016
She has been in showbiz for over three decades. But it's not all "been there, done that" for local actress Xiang Yun, as she discovered during filming for her new TV drama Peace And Prosperity.
In the upcoming Channel 8 drama, the 54-year-old plays the co-owner of a traditional Chinese medicine hall - and performs a lion dance sequence for the first time.
The 170-parter debuts on April 4 at 7.30pm. In one episode, Xiang Yun pairs up with her daughter in the show, played by local actress Julie Tan, 23, to perform a lion dance to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their shop.
Tan takes the lead and Xiang Yun is at the back.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday during the filming of the scene, Xiang Yun, who has gone for only one two-hour lion dance training session but will be training more in the coming weeks, said: "There is going to be one scene where Julie will throw the lion head into the air, and I will 'fly' up to catch it."
The mother of two children aged 24 and 16 added: "I will be hanging by a wire and will 'fly' to a height of about two storeys. It feels scary, so I am trying not to think about it for now."
During Xiang Yun's and Tan's brief performance, the pair broke out in a sweat but still managed to pull it off in a well-rehearsed manner.
Xiang Yun said doing the lion dance places a lot of stress on her waist, so she wears a brace during filming. "Now that I am older, I need to take care of my body," she said.
"I also jog regularly to keep myself healthy so that I don't injure myself. "I also have to remember the footwork as it can be quite difficult."
Even though it is physically tiring, Xiang Yun is relishing the opportunity as she feels the lion dance culture is slowly losing its appeal among the younger generation.
She said: "It is an important culture but it is not as popular now. I am glad I can have the chance to do this."
Pain? No problem
Local actress Julie Tan is taking great pains to learn the lion dance - literally.
For a scene in new Channel 8 drama Peace And Prosperity, the 23-year-old has to hold the lion head - which weighs around 2kg - during the dance and it has placed a strain on the svelte starlet.
She told TNP: "I have gone for four training sessions of two hours each. After each session, my shoulders became swollen. My mum massaged my shoulders and I put on some medicated plasters to ease the pain."
But it won't stop her. She said: "This is why I love acting. You get to learn and try new things - things you won't do in your everyday life."
For Tan, stamina is required to pull off the lion dance.
She said: "Every training session feels like a good gym workout as I would be sweating buckets. Holding the lion head feels like doing weight training combined with squats."
Filming is expected to last until September, but Tan isn't concerned that her hectic schedule will keep her from spending time with her new boyfriend.
She has been dating a local entrepreneur 11 years her senior for a month now.
When asked about her budding romance, Tan gave a sheepish laugh and said: "We are pretty independent so we meet up for dinner whenever I have time. I don't think we will be too busy for each other.
"Sometimes, he does nag at me, 'Don't work too hard'."
Get The New Paper for more news.