Lion Dance is a traditional performance art combining martial arts based stances and footwork, acrobatics, and puppetry. It is an integral part of Chinese culture, often associated with Chinese New Year and the Dragonboat Races. The Lion Dance was originally performed to drive off evil spirits and to bring in good fortune.
Each part of the standard 5-person Lion Dance team plays an important role in bringing the Lion to life.
The Head dancer controls the eyes, mouth, and ears of the Lion and interacts with the audience.
The Tail dancer supports the Head dancer and provides a stable base and extra lift for acrobatics and stunts.
The Drum provides a steady rhythmic beat that symbolizes the Lion's heartbeat while acting as surveillance for the Head/Tail team, using different beats to indicate walls, obstacles, and the edge of the stage.
The Gong acts as the spirit of the Lion, synchronizing with the Drum to provide the Lion with both a heartbeat and a soul. It is believed that the combination of the two is what sustains life.
The Cymbals represent the Lion's voice, its thundering roar that can frighten away even the darkest of spirits. It plays alongside the Drum and Gong, but is known to sing above them to its own clarion call.
Occasionally, a Smiling Buddha will be present, who acts as the comedic foil to the Lion's serious presence.
Oftentimes, the Lion will eat and scatter lettuce leaves over the audience as part of the show. In Chinese, the word for "prosperity" is 财 (choy), which sounds very similar to 菜 (choy), the Chinese word for "lettuce". Symbolically, the scattering of lettuce represents blessing the audience with prosperity and good fortune.
The LHSK Lion Dance class is free to learn. We will teach you all 5 parts of a standard show (Head, Tail, Drum, Gong, and Cymbals), as well as give you an opportunity to perform with the team during Chinese New Year, Dragonboat, and other events.
If you wish to hire the Lion Dance Team to perform at weddings, grand openings, cultural fairs, or other events, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing information.