The Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries’ in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and at other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals, with dance costumes as colourful as the Asian culture.
Various forms of lion dance are also found widely in East Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, as well as among the communities in the Himalayan region. The most common lion dance costumes are red and gold in colour, symbolising wealth and prosperity. At Chinese New Year parades, these costumes are donned by performers where they perform a traditional dance, which requires deft coordination and acrobatic skill. In the more traditional form of the lion dance performance, two performers share a single costume, with one representing the lion’s head, and the other controlling the movements of the lion’s body.
Here are a few popular types of lion dance costumes:
In the history of the Southern Lion dance, the Fut Shan Lion was the first Lion to be created in China. It has a high forehead, curved lips and a very sharp horn on its head. Their dance movement is quite rough and their dancing routine involves big movements.
The Northern Lion normally performs in pairs with another person holding a ball for the pair of lions to chase after. The pair of Northern Lions is made up of a female and a male. The gender of which is determined by the colour of the fur on its head and its back, which is green for a female and red for a male. The Northern Lion Dance projects a very active, happy, and playful movement.
The Southern Cantonese lion style of dancing is very much focussed on “The Horse Stance.” Initially, there were two schools of Southern Cantonese lion style of dancing. However, as time rolled on, the two styles were combined together to form the Futthock style.
The Hoksan Lion was created very much later after the existence of the Fut Shan Lion. The Hoksan Lion is also known as “The Duck Beak Lion,” and it has a lower forehead, a rounded horn, and a duck beak mouth with flat lips.
The Futthock Lion was created by the Singaporeans. It has a rounded horn on its head, longer eyes, and a pair of semi-curved lips. The Futthock Lion was created by combining some of the arts and crafts of the Hoksan and the Fut Shan Lion together.
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