Monthly Archives: March 2011

Kids Love Lions

One of the main purposes of the lion dance is to scare off evil and bring good luck.  Particularly in southern style lions, this symbolism is exhibited in ornaments such as the mirror on the lion’s forehead, used to scare evil spirits with their reflection.

To those that have never seen a lion dance lion before, they might imagine images of scary and fierce looking creatures.  Although this is certainly true with some lion styles and colors schemes, a growing trend in playful and cute looking lions have dominated the lion dance performance scene due to their crowd pleasing appearance.  These bright colored, furry lions are particularly adored by kids.  What kid wouldn’t love a huge, colorful, soft fur, animated lion? They look like giant sized stuff animals that move!

I think performing for an audience with kids is a lot more fun because you can see just how much kids enjoy watching the lion.  Their eyes open wide in amazement at the mystical looking lion and laughter ensues when the lion does playful movements.  Kids have an easier ability to just see the lion as a lion, instead of two people underneath a costume.  Therefore, if performed well, kids will forget about the people underneath… as the lion comes to life.

As part of the World Brooklyn exhibit at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, kids get an inside-the-head look at what it’s like to be a lion dancer.

Here are some fun photos taken by my cousin at the exhibit.

The excitement of kids when they see a lion dance brings a lot of satisfaction to lion dancers alike.  You’re certainly there to lift their spirits and bring a smile to their faces.  Their slight hesitation and fascination, when they try to feed a red envelope into the lion’s mouth is an experience that they will not forget.  This moment, from within the lion’s head, is equally memorable. 🙂

Lion Brothers

The excitement surged through my body as I carried my first brand new lion head out of Clarion Music Center. I wasn’t the only one affected by these feelings; my Si Hing had also purchased a lion head on the same day, at the same time. We both walked out of the shop with pride.

Just the other day, I was digging through my old lion dance pictures to reminisce my past experiences in the art. Although the purchase was hasty, I do not regret buying my first lion. I’m sure my Si Hing feels the same way too. Speaking of my Si Hing, we had a pretty interesting history together. He was one year older than me, and went to the same elementary and middle school as me. Even then, I had no idea who he was until I joined my first kung fu class, where he was notoriously known as the mischievous Si Hing. We quickly became friends.

After several years of practicing together, we decided it was time to buy our own lion heads. Heck, we probably thought we were bad@$$ lion dancers at the time, but in reality, we sucked. It was literally a lion DANCE. No power, no stances, no nothing. Just two kids waving a paper mache mask around. We simply didn’t have the enthusiasm that real lion dancers had; we just wanted to enjoy ourselves.

The Hoi Gong ceremony for the two lion heads were done on the same day, during my Sifu’s annual birthday celebration performance. In addition, both lions were dotted by my Sifu. Automatically, we knew that these two lions would be lion brothers forever.

My Si Hing and his lion dance partner holding up his brand new lion.

Me and my lion dance partner holding up my brand new lion.

My Sifu going through the Hoi Gong ceremony with my lion.

My Si Hing doing the sleeping/waking up routine.

The lion brothers in their first performance.

Group picture featuring the lion brothers.

Circa 2004 – My Si Hing and me.

Stuffing Things Down My Shirt

If memory serves me right, the following is a list of items that I’ve stuffed down my shirt in the past couple years during lion dance performances.  These props are part of puzzles that the lion has to solve/interact with.  And if you’re dancing the lion, there’s no place to store stuff except down your shirt, in your mouth, in your hand, tucked into belts, etc.

The following are items that have actually went down my shirt though… 😛

  1. Many oranges
  2. Many tangerines
  3. Pomelo
  4. Gourd
  5. Acupuncture needles
  6. Red envelopes filled with money
  7. Loose bills
  8. Red envelopes filled with tea leaves
  9. Sewing needle (in pouch)
  10. Metal chisel
  11. Small metal sharpening block
  12. Book

March 20, 2011: Sunday Practice

Ryan brought his lion to practice today. Ryan has been absent from practice for some time due to his school work load.

Ryan showed some of the wushu youth how to hold the lion, shoot the lion’s head, and some stance positions. I think the youth are interested in learning more. Heck, lion dancing is fun and is a change from the usual wushu basics that we do every time.

We worked on a few new things today. We worked on the intro of picking up and getting under the lion. We never really do this at performances because we usually always enter the audience area already underneath the lion. But this is good to know, in case we do a different intro where we’re outside the lion to begin with.

The intro we devised is simple, has a salute, a few empty hand movements, including a jump inside. Then we skip over the lion and pick it up. The head pick up involves a lift with the foot, which is pretty neat. We’ll need to practice this more.

The second new thing we tried today was a body turn in the lion. This is where you see the dancers momentarily as the lion’s head and body is spun in one direction. Similar to how a lion roll is (where you side roll on the ground), except we’re standing.

We’ll have to get some footage of these new moves in the future so you can see. Overall, a fun practice! 🙂

Lion Dance Videos Are Up!

I just embedded all the lion dance videos that I’ve shot over the past years! They’re available in the Videos section. Check it out! 🙂

Welcome To!

We’re excited to welcome everyone to!

This site is managed by fellow lion dance teammates, Ryan Au and Alex Ng.  We will be posting our lion dance experiences here as part of our training blog.  We will also be adding in lion dance resources and articles to help promote and spread the art of lion dancing.

So keep posted for new material coming real soon! 🙂