Children of Chen's lion dancing team practice. (Photo: VCG)
"I listened to the sound of drum for the lion dance when I was in my mother's womb," Chen said, recalling how martial arts together with lion dancing were the most impressionable moments from her childhood.
She began practicing martial arts as a child and learned the lion dance with her grandfather when he started a dance team of teenagers.
Chen remembered that they need to practice basic skills on the weekend, starting with perfecting the horse stance. Chen became the drummer for the team through her rhythmic talents.
When the team began joining performances and competitions, Chen caught the public attention, especially for being one of the few female lion dancing drummers. However, she later quit the team to focus on school.
After marrying her husband in Liede village, Chen, a mother of two, was encouraged by her family to teach children martial arts. The youngest child attending Chen's class is in kindergarten and the oldest is in high school. They take classes on weekends.
Chen wanted to form a lion dancing team but the idea was opposed by some parents out of concerns of their children's safety.
When Chen successfully helped a group of kindergarten students stage a lion dancing performance, parents were relieved and began supporting her.
Chen hopes the tradition of lion dancing will be passed on to the next generation. "People who insist doing the lion dancing in China are in their 30s," she said.
"The members on my team are still too young. Teenagers around 12 and 13 who attend the activity are seldom." "Some young people would like to join the lion dancing but they still think the activity belongs to mid-aged people. There is a gap between the two generations," Chen said.
"What I insist doing now is like carrying on a mission. It's like my family's insistence in martial arts and our insistence to the family honor. I want to pass on this culture."