Commentary – KTSF 26 Golden Gate Fields – Lion Dance Competition

So Alex decided not to post up the videos he filmed during the competition because there are better ones that are already on Youtube. He was filming from a bad angle and also missed the first half of Yau Kung Moon’s performance to get his $1 hot dogs. Haha 😛

He might make a video montage when he has free time, but in the meantime, I’ll embed other people’s videos here and give some commentary.

First up is Yau Kung Moon of San Francisco, which competed with a Hok San style routine, utilizing a set of high benches. I’ve actually never seen benches built like that, so they’re pretty unique to me. Their drumming was a pretty standard Malaysian Hok San beat.


Video courtesy of ykmsf.

A few observations:

  1. Notice the appearance of a gradual slope from the head to tail, presenting the neck of the lion. I discussed this in The Lion Horse.
  2. The lion movements are relatively gentle and soft compared to traditional Fut San lion dancing. This a characteristic of Hok San lion dancing.
  3. Many Malaysian Hok San lion heads use a full length ram fur on both the top and bottom eyelids. This lion only uses full length ram fur on the top eyelid. Instead of full length ram fur, I’m guessing either thick rabbit fur or trimmed ram fur was used for the bottom eyelid. I don’t see many of those lions around, but it’s a nice change from the typical Malaysian Hok San lions seen everywhere.

The next performance was by Hung Sing Goon of San Francisco. They competed with a somewhat hybrid style routine, utilizing a red wooden wash basin. Their drumming was a unique Fut San beat.


Video courtesy of Dj2FrEsHz.

A few observations:

  1. Although they’re dancing a Fut San lion head and using a Fut San drumbeat, you can clearly see some Hok San flavor in the lion’s movements. These are the gentle and soft movements that I mentioned above. They’ve also incorporated some strong, snappy lion movements characteristic of Fut San lion dancing.
  2. Throughout the routine, there were some parts with some pretty realistic animalistic emotions and expressions.
  3. Standing on the brim of that basin is a lot harder than it looks.

The last performance was by Rising Phoenix of San Jose. They competed with a hybrid style routine, utilizing a wine jug prop.  Their drumming seems to be Hok San based with some Fut San influences.


Video courtesy of haisan408.

A few observations:

  1. Their lion head is practically identical to Hung Sing Goon’s lion. The only differences that I spotted were the pompom colors, nose color, and some of the paint colors.
  2. The routine was relatively fast-paced compared to the other two teams’ routines.
  3. You can clearly tell that they put a lot of attention and focus on the lion’s expressions and emotions. The portrayal of being drunk was spot-on.

Overall, I enjoyed watching all three performances. I wish I was there in person! Maybe one day, far in the future, we’ll be able to pull a team together and compete! But thinking about that will be saved for another time…


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