LION DANCE – CHINA
Performed mainly during auspicious events such as wedding ceremonies, business initiation ceremonies, Chinese New Year etc, is an East Asian style of dancing known as the Lion dance. This “celebratory” dance is said to have originated from China Apparently, the basic movements using in this dance style can be found very easily in Chinese martial arts. Furthermore, there are two types of Lion dances i.e. northern Lion and southern Lion. In addition, apart from China this dance style is also extremely popular in the South East Asia region.
a. History/origin of Lion Dance:
Since lion is not a native Chinese animal, this dance form according to a historical fact is said to have actually originated from countries like India and Persia. Apparently, this dance was introduced officially into the Chinese culture via Central Asia. In addition, the first use of the word “shizi” which means lion in Chinese was first seen in ancient cultural texts belonging to the Han dynasty. Furthermore, it was during the “Tang” dynasty that eventually detailed literature about this dance style was first made available. It was also in the court of the “Tang” dynasty that this dance was first performed, and was initially named “The Great Peace Music/Lion Dance of the Five Directions”. There were also several other versions of this dance form that were then created later during the reign of the Tang dynasty.
b. Costumes used in the Lion Dance:
The costume used in this dance style basically includes the use of a custom made colourful “Lion” costume. In addition, these costumes are mainly found in handicraft shops in rural China.
c. Music involved in the Lion Dance:
The musical instruments mainly used in this dance include mainly drums, cymbals, and gongs.
d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Lion Dance:
In terms of technique, this dance essentially involves a group of performers imitating movements made by a lion. As for training centres/schools, there are number of them available around Asia for all those interested in gaining knowledge about this unique “celebratory” dance that has originated from China.