History of the Lion Dance
Lion Dancing is an important tradition
in Asia, especially China. Usually the lion dance is performed
during festive occasions like Chinese New Year, Grand opening
of business' and weddings. It is believed that loud noises
scare away evil spirits so firecrackers and loud banging of
the music are often used to scare away evil or bad karma.
The lion Dance brings good luck and happiness.
Lion Dancing has a very long history,
which began as a result of the cultural interaction between
China and West Asia. Persia began bilateral trade with China
through the famous Silk Road nearly two thousand years ago.
The ambassador from Persia sent animals, such as Lions, to
the Emperor of China as a gift. This is when the proliferation
of lions began in China. The Chinese people regard the Lion
as a symbol of bravery and peace. They hoped that by using
the bravery of the lion, they might chase away evil sprits.
This is why they always build statues id lions outside their
homes in order to prevent evil occurrences from happening.
The Lion Dance combines art, history and
martial arts in an extraordinary performance art. Normally,
the performers have some martial arts background as the dance
requires suppleness, flexibility, fitness, strength and balance.
Every type of movement has a specific musical rthym and the
music mimics the move of the Lion. The drum beat follows the
Lion and the cymbals and gong players follow the drum. The
whole dance requires precision and to be unison from each
member of the team.
There are generally two types of Lions
namely, the Northern and Southern Lion. The difference lies
mainly in the movement and the appearance of the dress. The
Northern type resembles a shaggy dog, whereas the Southern
resembles a fierce cat.
Through the years, the Lion Dance has
undergone many changes and developments. After nearly two
thousand years of creative thinking and practice, the Lion
Dance has become a genuine performance art that is spiritually
fulfilling as well as expressing optimism, unity and bravery