Elvis Tiau and Choo Guoyong, 8, are buzzing after being included in a group of 25 from the Epacs Lion Dance Troupe to perform for the Prime Minister as she marks the start of Lunar New Year festivities.
Jacinda Ardern will this morning take part in an "eye-dotting ceremony" of Chinese lions at the ASB Showgrounds to mark the start of celebrations for the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 12.
Elvis has only been a member of the troupe for two months.
that he has been selected to perform in one of the festival's main events in Auckland, just two months after joining the troupe.
"I like watching lion dance and it's like a dream that I am actually going to perform in front of the Prime Minister," Elvis said.
The traditional Chinese lion dance is performed at New Year to bring good luck and chase away evil spirits.
Elvis, of Whangaparāoa Primary, will perform as the head of the lion and dance to the rhythm of beating drums, clashing symbols and striking gongs with a partner at the back.
Drummer Guoyong said he has been putting in extra hours perfecting his beats.
"There will be many important people there, so I don't want to make any mistakes," said the Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School student.
Troupe master and founder Peter Low said he has been running workshops to recruit "baby lion" performers as a way to pass on the art.
"Many people think lion dancing is just something that people in the 20s or 30s do, but I want to show that it is never too young for people to start," Low said.
"This is not just any old dance, it has strong symbolism and significance, and in a way spiritual too," said Low, originally from Singapore.
Lion dancing is believed to have originated during the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD) and over the years became widely seen as a symbol of good luck throughout China and the Chinese diaspora.
Connie Wong has enrolled five of her children, including Elvis, as members of Low's troupe.
Originally from Malaysia, she believes lion dancing helps build fitness, discipline and agility.
"Getting a chance to perform in front of the Prime Minister is just a bonus," Wong said.