What is LION DANCE?

Lion dance is an important ritual in Chinese tradition believed to bring good luck and drive away evil spirits on auspicious occasions. A good performance has the ability to bring good luck and happiness. Chinese associations and kung fu schools use Lion Dance to display the organization’s character and strength.

 

Today, Lion dance is typically seen during:

 

  • Chinese New Year

  • Grand Openings

  • Weddings

  • Parades

  • Festivals

  • Cultural Celebrations

 

A traditional Lion Dance performance includes Lions, an instrumentals team, and a clown.

 

Lions come in two distinctive styles: Northern and Southern

 

Northern Lions

 

Norhern Lions are modeled after native dogs in Northern China and may be referred to as Guardian Lions or Foo Dogs. Mostly in Northern China - Lions are emblematically displayed in front of Chinese imperial palaces, emperors' tombs and government offices today for power and protection. Performances of the northern style Lions can be seen usually at festivals, Chinese circuses, opera and New Year’s celebrations.

 

Southern Lions

 

Southern Lions are native to the Guangdong province. Southern style Lion heads can be divided into 3 categories: Lau's, Kwan's and Cheung's, all famous generals in China from the epic story: ‘Romance of Three Kingdoms’. There are 3 main color combinations of those Lions: Lau’s – yellow (wise Lion), Kwan’s - red & black (courageous Lion), and Cheung’s are black and green (fighting Lion).

 

A Lion consists of a team of two people:

 

  • Head player controls the eyes, ears and mouth of the Lion - exhibiting the emotions and character.

  • Tail player matches the head player’s steps, wags the tail and lifts the head player.

 

Each of the Lion's moves has its own associated rhythm and is supposed to match with the music. Musical ensemble accompanying the Lion dance consists of:

 

  • Drum player

  • Gong player

  • Cymbal players

 

A Buddha/Clown player provokes emotions and plays with the Lion while communicating proper directions during the dance.