header image

舞狮 The Lion Dance

Posted by: zgarrett | April 19, 2010 | 1 Comment |

One of the most common sights during Chinese New Year and some other Chinese festivals is the lion dance. Many people mistake the lion dance for the dragon dance, but they are quite different. The lion dance is performed by two people underneath a lion costume, who mimic the movements of a lion. The dragon dance, on the other hand, is performed by around 8-9 people who hold a dragon made of cloth on poles.
Both the lion and the dragon dances are traditionally performed by local Kung Fu schools, who consider the dances as part of their training curriculum. Many styles of Kung Fu have adopted the movements of animals to enhance their fighting techniques, including tigers, snakes, cranes, and praying mantises. By replicating the movements of the lion while practicing the lion dance, the practitioners are able to gain insight into new ways of fighting.
Just like how Kung Fu can be divided into two main categories, those of Northern and Southern Kung Fu, so too can lion dance performances. Northern lions tend to come in pairs and usually have long shaggy orange or red hair.
北狮.jpg
Southern lions come in a few different types that symbolize warriors from the Shu Han kingdom. The original three types were Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei. These three warriors swore fraternity in a peach garden before they went to suppress the Yellow Turban Rebellion at the fall of the Han Dynasty. Later three more types emerged, which symbolized Zhao Zilong, Huang Zhong, and Ma Chao; all three served as generals in Liu Bei’s army.
nanshi.jpg
It is unknown how the lion dance began, but it is estimated to be around 1500 years old. One of the legends about the dance involves a monster terrorizing a village. The people eventually made a costume of a lion and mimicked its movements in order to frighten the monster.
I highly suggest going to see a lion dance performance next time you get a chance. And if you ever find yourself studying Kung Fu at a school that owns a lion, then I urge you to give learning the lion dance a try. Last year I finally got the opportunity at my school to perform the lion dance at the Dragon Boat Festival, and I had a lot of fun attempting to walk like a lion.

under: Uncategorized

Responses -

Chinese lions are the cutest. 中国的狮子是世界上最可爱。

Categories