Lion Dance

cranes
cranes

The origin of the Chinese Lion Dance is obscure, there are so many versions of its origin. Some are based on fiction and stories brought down from generations, some have facts and history to back up their version.

 
 

One version had its origin in "Ning Nan Guangzhao" which states that there was a monster which the Chinese called "Nien" which would appeared on Lunar New Year's Eve and attack the crops of the farmers in the village. The people armed themselves with weapons and gongs to chase it away but it reappeared the following year. On one occassion Buddha met this "Nien" and managed to subdue it. He brought it back to his temple and tamed it as a pet. People began to name it the "Tame Lion".

Another version comes from a book called "Tang Soo Chai Tai Ping Ler" -written in the 5th dynasty, which is a few hundred years ago. The book states that there is a beast which is about 8 feet long, having a big head with jutting teeth, eyes like copper bells, a green face and a horn.

 

This beast was said to appear on every Lunar New Year's Eve to destroy the crops. The villagers, on the instruction of their elders, started to make an imitation of the beast using coloured paper and colourful cloth. When the beast appeared they used their imitation beast together with gongs. drums. and cymbals and managed to frighten it away. The villagers celebrated the New Year from then on with this dance and it was later known as the Lion Dance.

 

Yet another version states that Lion Dance started during the "Tang Ming Wang" era. One day the emperor dreamt about a colourful lion dancing with all sorts of movement and actions.

 

He was so capitvated by it that he summoned his choreographer to reconstruct the features of this lion and create the dance.

 

Lion dance is traditional in the Chinese culture. It involves the use of martial arts, acrobatics and stage performing skills. The participation of martial artists is valued for the strength and courage that they bring to the performance. Lion dance still flourishes to this day , because it reflects good values of Chinese culture. The practice of lion dance is not affected by political racial or religious differences. It can be enjoyed by everyone and anyone. A good performance depends on the strength and morale of the team and their cooperation with each other - just as real life does.

 

There are two main types of lion dance: the northern and the southern lion. The features and the way the dance is performed are different. The actual drums and cymbals are different too.

 

The lion dance performed by Fujian White Crane Kung Fu is the southern style, widely popular in China and the Far East.