CHINESE LION DANCE

Kong's Siu Lum Pai Association offers Chinese Lion Dance performances for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, grand openings, conventions, community events, and other special occasions.

If you would like to book a lion dance for your upcoming event, please use our online form or call (808) 841-5228 to request more information regarding rates and availability.

ANCIENT LEGENDS

There are many ancient legends in Chinese folklore that recount the origin of the Lion Dance. Here are two popular versions:

One tale places the birth of the Lion Dance sometime during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-906). The reigning emperor had a vivid dream one night in which his life was in grave danger. Suddenly, a peculiar looking animal emerged from nowhere and saved him. The next morning, the emperor described the vision to his court ministers. One minister told him that the strange creature appeared to be a lion from the West. The emperor then commissioned his craftsmen to construct a lion replica in honor of the animal in his dream.

Lions are not native to China, so the lion replica took on characteristics of mythological creatures such as the dragon and phoenix. Because the animal saved the emperor, it became associated with chasing away evil and bringing good luck.

Another popular tale comes from Southern China’s Kwangtung province. A savage beast would appear once a year to terrorize a small village. A visiting monk, having witnessed the terror, instructed the villagers to build a "monster" to scare off the menace. They fashioned a large head from bamboo covered in bright paper, and a body was sewn together from long pieces of cloth. They also filled bamboo shoots with gunpowder. When the new year arrived the beast returned to terrorize the villagers, but was greeted by the "monster" manned by two of their best martial artists. These "dancers" started scuffling about, bringing the bamboo and paper construction to life, while the villagers banged on pots and pans and threw their homemade firecrackers. The frightened beast scurried away, never to return again.

Hence a creature was constructed each New Year’s Eve as a way of bidding farewell to the old year and to welcome in the new. Over time it became an animal that is believed to bring good fortune and blessings, while chasing away bad luck.

THE ART OF THE LION DANCE

Lion Dancing is an art. In order to excel in it, one must have a firm foundation in Kung Fu. This includes strong legs and stances, a lot of upper body strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and stamina. But this is only the beginning. A good lion dancer must research, interpret, imitate and understand the nature of an animal. Without this feeling, the lion dancer would be like any ordinary person swinging a paper-mache object to and fro.

When performing a Lion Dance, the following must be considered. Lions are full of curiosity but easily startled. Upon confronting anything strange, the lion is cautious, wondering and shows skepticism. The dancers must also be able to make the lion appear happy, angry, sad and overjoyed.

Aside from these emotions, animal behavior must also be incorporated into the lion dance. This includes the animal grooming itself, stroking its fur, scratching, eating, rolling over, sprawling when tired, falling asleep, and waking up. A lion dancer who can masterfully imitate these actions can make the Chinese Lion behave like a real animal.

Chinese New Year
Lion Dance



Photo: Lion Dance training, Kalihi main studio

Kong's Siu Lum Pai Kung Fu Association

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To book a trial lesson or a lion dance for your special event,
call (808) 841-5228, email eugho@kongssiulumpai.com, or use our online form.