A time for dragons and lions

A time for dragons and lions

This historic Chinese language conventional martial arts kind roars its technique to the fore this festive season

THERE is nothing like the sensation of awe and pleasure that you just get when watching a lion dance. This type of conventional dance is a well-known sight in Chinese language cultural occasions, throughout which performers in a vibrant, articulate lion costume create a ritualised and stylised dance for leisure and religious functions.

It normally takes place round main holidays in Asia like Lunar New Yr, in addition to vital days like enterprise openings, and is alleged to deliver good luck and prosperity.

The lion dance has an extended historical past, with many conventional legends making an attempt to elucidate its origin. As a result of there have been no lions native to China on the time, the lion dance was established by emulating the motions of animals they recognized, and two distinct types of the dance created: a northern fashion and a southern fashion.

The northern fashion is extra explosive, that includes stunts, whereas the southern fashion is extra stylised, with much less life like ‘lion’ costumes.

theSun not too long ago had the chance to interview members of the Hong Yi Dragon & Lion Dance Affiliation to study extra about their journey, obstacles, and aspirations.

Hong Yi was constructed on a love of the traditional Chinese language artwork of dragon and lion dance. What started as an NGO greater than a decade in the past has now advanced right into a multi-faceted cultural service, catering to clientele starting from households to company organisations.

Other than Malaysia, they’ve regional branches in China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Calvin Hong based Hong Yi in 2008, when he was solely 22 years outdated. Having realized each dragon and lion dance methods ever since he was a toddler, he made a leap of religion, impressed by his enthusiasm, and created the group throughout a interval when the artwork kind was seen as a conventional service supplied by the outdated timers.

At present, Hong Yi has grown right into a thriving multi-faceted cultural service supplier, with purchasers starting from households to company organisations, leaving footprints throughout Asia. They not too long ago received third place in The 4th Di An Metropolis Dragon Lion Award, Allure Portray Group Cup.

They have been the additionally the champion for the 2022 Shenlong Cup Chinese language Dragon and Lion Invitational Event, in addition to the 2022 Meiling Cup Nationwide Dragon and Lion Tradition Exhibition. In addition they received Silver within the 4 Seas Concentric Cup for Conventional Class.

“At Hong Yi, we’re a household,” Hong defined. “There’s a sturdy sense of belonging and friendship. Our members and different troupes kind long-lasting friendships. Our workforce is hardworking and well-trained. We work with the aim of creating younger skills to thrive in inventive sports activities whereas additionally fostering self-discipline, workforce spirit, mutual respect, and wholesome residing in a joyful atmosphere.”

We inquired as to the variations between a lion and dragon dance.

Hong defined: “[The lion dance] showcases extremely skilled performers who are sometimes martial arts practitioners dancing to the beat of drums, cymbals, and gongs. Every movement is nothing wanting a present, with jaw-dropping, stunning, and spectacular results. The skilled dancers’ strikes, which incorporate the way in which a lion walks and kung fu facets, mirror the fierceness and would possibly of the lion.

“The flashy lion costume consists of two elements: the pinnacle and the remainder of the physique, that are worn by two individuals on both finish. The pinnacle is usually giant, weighing as much as 5kg at instances, and is manufactured from bamboo or wooden. The entrance part is roofed in sandpaper, gauze, and faux fur. The remainder of the costume is made of colored linen and fake fur. Dancers use matching pants to mix in and full the absolutely coated picture.

“Total, the fashion is shaggy, paying homage to the jungle king, but vivid in color and texture.

“As for the dragon dance, it has a extra elegant and relaxed look; it’s additionally performed with [up to] 9 performers. These performers don’t want to decorate as dragons themselves, because the dragon physique is perched atop poles that they carry up within the air. This explicit dance stresses easy footwork greater than something. Given the size a dragon costume can go, a string of dancers and their coordination are required for this dance.”

His current squad is made up of the fourth technology of members, which incorporates each girls and boys. The females will carry out the devices, whereas the boys will carry out the dance. Their youngest member is seven years outdated, and the oldest is 43.

Hong said that it is very important retain teamwork with the intention to produce an impressive efficiency.

He mentioned: “We’re deeply dedicated to selling and campaigning for Dragon and Lion dance as a cultural artwork kind and a conventional place.”