The concept of portraying a lionâ€™s age was first mentioned to me several years ago. At the time, it didnâ€™t appeal to me greatly, so I just hid the concept in the back of my head. But after the Hoi Gong ceremony for Chris Lowâ€™s newly restored lion, the concept suddenly sparked into my mind again as I watched Yogi Tam, Vincent Chan, and a younger member playing with the lion head. If incorporated correctly and creatively, portraying a lionâ€™s age would be an impressive aspect of a performance.
We all know that our hair turns white as we grow older. The concept of a lionâ€™s age is based off of this â€“ a black-haired lion is young, while a white-haired lion is old. Notice that I said hair, not fur. In my opinion, lion heads with ram fur or other types of fluffy fur all look about the same age. On the other hand, white-bristle haired lions tend to look older then black-bristle haired lions. With that said, it would be proper for a black-haired lion head to be portrayed as young and energetic, while a white-haired lion should be portrayed as wise and civilized.
A black-haired lionâ€™s movements should be fast, powerful, energetic, â€œwildâ€, snappy, etc. The video below shows these descriptions. The first person (up to 7 seconds) is a younger member of The Immortals team, while the second person is Vincent Chan.
Since lion dancing is a form of storytelling, the appearance of both a black-haired lion and a white-haired lion in a performance would be greatly enhanced with the additional detail in portraying the lionâ€™s age. If incorporated well, the full story can be told with a new dimension.