Welcome to the CVvC&MK Liondance-page.
This page is intended to give information about the Chinese liondance. If YOU have info that you don't see here, let me know.
The liondance is a Kung Fu related aspect of the Chinese culture.
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For those interested to buy equipment, you may try via the Lion Dance Mailing List, or the links in the link section. Unless you are in the neighborhood of the Netherlands, don't ask me, I won't be able to help you.
For those who want to know how to make equipment, I don't know either...
The Little Buddha by Jim Fenner
The traditional Chinese Liondance is usually part of festivities and it is believed to bring happiness and luck, if well-performed. The lion is a holy animal and should be seen as a spirit that has its own place in Chinese Mythology. Accompanied features
are fireworks (usually crackers) and sometimes also the Dragon. There is also the Little Buddha, but more about that later.
The difference between the lion and the dragon is very simple to spot, but as many people, including Chinese restaurant owners who invited us to do the liondance, refer to the lion as "dragon", I'll explain the difference: the dragon is held by a whole bunch of performers, who are outside of it.
They walk in specific patterns, to make the dragon fly.
The lion on the other hand, has a crew of two, who are inside of it. Another difference that follows from the former one, is that the liondance performers can move the head in a different way, including the eyes, mouth and ears.
There are generally two types of Chinese lions: the Northern and Southern Lion. The difference lies mainly in the way the lions move, but the most apparent to the eye are their looks: the Northern lion has a yellow furry coat and a less movable mouth, the Southern lion has a usually multi coloured body (no long hairs) and a more movable mouth. Our school does the southern lion, and I will restrict this introduction to that one.
Ingredients: (next to the obvious: the lion..:-)
The performers are normally Kung Fu practitioners, as liondancing requires suppleness, flexibility, fitness, strenght and good balance.
Generally, the liondance is performed at certain occasions, and the lion is a token if good fortune and luck; often firecrackers are lit to scare away the evil spirits. By dancing well, the lion is said to have the same effect, and therefore Chinese New Year is one of the occasions, aswell as the openings of Chinese restaurants and sometimes marriages.
There are a few instruments necessary to make the music that comes along with liondancing: a large drum, cymbals and a gong.
There are certain parts that a dance must/can contain:
Greeting, walking, eating, climbing a stage etc.
In all special moves, the lion must dance in the right rythm, but the music must follow the moves of the lion. (The drum follows the lion, the cymbals and the gong follow the drumplayer.) This means that the lion and the musicians have to work out what they are going to do; sometimes this leads to a whole set of moves, with little space for improvisation. When working with a fixed stage, as in contests, that can easily be done, but when performing for a restaurant or at New Year, it gets harder, because you don't know exactly what the environment is. Every type of move has it's own specific musical rythm, and on every rythm there are certain alternatives; same goes for all the types of moves: there are certain alternatives, one at a moment better than the other.
The quality of the dance depends on the level of difficulty, the correct stances and total form, the right feel for the rythm and the story of the play. The level of difficulty: are the dancers doing high jumps, do they stand on eachothers shoulders, etc.
The correct stances and total form: in Liondancing, the basic stances are the ma-bo and cuhm-bo; from those, there are many variations. The correctness of the total form is harder to discribe, the best I can do is to say it is the way the lion should move: the head, the legs (front and back), the mouth, the tail etc.
The Little Buddha
By Jim Fenner
The Story of a Little Buddah (LB) is of one or more renegade monks from Shaolin, who were too undisciplined to handle Temple training and were either cast out or ran away from the Temple. The physical make-up of a LB performer is usually a small, acrobatic, limber person who has good body manipulation. The costume is either a Traditional KF or Monk uniform, sometimes brightly colored. Under it the perfomer wears something to make him look obese, usually a cushion or pillow. A mask held to the face by a wire which is bitten is also worn. He is basically looking for fun when he encounters a lion, and he finds amusment in tormenting the lion with either a fan or a ball. The LB is very acrobatic but very clumsy and falls a lot.
End of contribution by Jim Fenner.
Have any additional information? let me know!!!
Sofar I have only put some of the liondance photographs out of my collection. There will be more soon, hopefully with also dragon and northern lions..
Here's me playing the head (Tilburg, NL, 128K jpg).
These photographs were taken at the Open European Liondance Championship Contest, held in Liè ge (Luik), Belgium. As I recall, there were 6 teams, two from Malaysia, one of them was said to be the current worldchampion, a French team, two Dutch teams of which one had a unicorn instead of a lion and a Belgian team. Roger Chan sifu was a judge at this tournament, but maybe next time our own team will participate, and they will have to find another judge... :-)
Lots of great photo's:
Thanks to Gideon for his excellent scanwork!
Chinese Physical Culture Association, Honolulu, Hawaii
A more complete article on liondancing:
The Lion's Den!
Stats on World Lion Dance Championships:
Cheng Man Fai Sports Association Dragon-Lion & Kung-Fu Team.
Cal Poly Lion Dance Team's Home Page.
Some photo's on this page:
Minh Nguyen's Lion Dance page.
Various information and photos here:
Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association.
Sydney Choi Lee Fut Lion Dance page.
Contents of this page are not to be used without permission.
Lots of great photo's:
Thanks to Gideon for his excellent scanwork!