July 25, 2017

“The Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Lion Dance” 

“The Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Lion Dance” 

Created by Taiwanese-American artist Ireny Pigblorps

 

What is lion dance? Lion Dance is a form of dance in chinese culture intended to care away evil spirits and bring good luck to the audience. At its core, it's a way o a kung fu school to demonstrate its power and showcase the abilities of its students. You usually see lions at Chinese new year parties and parades, but really they are for any special occasion like birthday, wedding, business opening anything where a little extra luck can't go a miss! traditionally, only men were permitted to perform lion dance, but it has changed a lot since the early of 20th century

The origin of lion dance There are a lot of different legends about how lion dance got started! The one we learned was about a monster that would attack a village once a year and eat all the food and babies. Until one day a monk came to town and tamed the monster by tying a red ribbon around its horn and now the monster acts as the village guardian and protects everyone instead of eating babies. there are other legends too where the gods cut the monster's head off, but guan yin, the goddess of mercy, brings it back to life

Lions are not dragons The differences or lion dance and dragon dance.

Types of lions Chinese lions generally fall into two categories which is northern and southern. Southern lion are more common and there are two type/style of southern lion which is fut san and hok san. Fut san lion is more old school with clear kung fu stances while hok san is less traditional with more relax stances and movement.

Anatomy of a lion features of a lion dance according to Chinese tradition

The Buddha / Monk in lion dance acts as a spotted for the lions during particularly tricky stunts. he instruments such as drums, cymbals and gong are used to provide music during lion dance performance. The drums is the lion's heart beat and directs the action. The drummer is usually the most senior member of the troupe. The gong and cymbals help to frighten away evil spirits.

A lion dance Performance The most standard lion dance performance involves the lion salking a head of lettuce or napa cabbage, eating it, and spitting i out onto the audience. The vegetables wil often have a "hong bao" or red envelope tied to them. this contains money, which is the payment for the blessing. in chinese, "picking the green" or "choi cheng" is a homonym for "wealth and fortune" so having the lion spit on you is good luck! Other routines can involve eating oranges or performing acrobatic stunts.

A lion is coming towards me what should i do? If the lion is not actively stalking a food or item, it may want to play with the audience. Do notbe scare of it. It just wants to be friends. Please feel free to pet the lion! it is soft and fluffy. we would prefer that you not spank the lion or touch its butt, because that is also our butt, but we're used to it.

important lion dance taboos there are some things you should no do when interacting with a lion! Please be respectful and obey following rules: Do not touch the lion's horn or it's mirror, they are used to fight evil spirits. if you see an unused lion, don't jump over its tail.

have fun and enjoy the lion dance! Thank you

 Top image and all images from irenydraws.tumblr.com.