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Thread: Chinese Lion Dance

  1. #1
    BIU JI Guest

    Lion Dance !

    With the new year coming alot of schools get ready for the Lion Dance. We have ours next week in Sydney China Town , can't wait , it's always a great day and a week later the Dragon dance .
    How many schools have the Lion as part of their school's learning and get involved with celebrations ? :)

  2. #2
    Pakmei Guest

    Lion Dancing

    We have lion dancing as part of the Pak Mei school that I'm with.
    Although traditionally Pak Mei schools never used to do the Lion Dance.
    Pak Mei schools used to play the Unicorn dance because of the body shape of the Pak Mei system.

    Traditionally Hung Gar and Choy Li Fut and Shaolin schools played the Lion Dance because thier system is more up right in body stature, where Pak Mei and Lung Ying (Dragon Sign) & Chow Gar Tong Long (Chow Family Praying Mantis) have a more rounded back and concave chest, which makes us more suited to playig the Unicorn dance.

    Putting tradition aside, yes we do play the Lion Dance in answer to your question.

    Dave Stevens

  3. #3
    BIU JI Guest
    I've never seen the Unicorn dance, could you tell me about it ?

  4. #4
    Paul Skrypichayko Guest
    It seems more logical that Pak Mei, Lung Ying, and Nam Tong Long practice Mo Kei Lun (unicorn dance) because of their ethnic background. I've always heard that Hakka people are the ones who are usually associated with the Kei Lun. Whereas most Cantonese people are connected with Mo Si (southern lion dance).

    If you go to northern China, chances are you'll never see either. If you're lucky, you might see the dragon dance or the northern lion.

    Back to your question; I live in Canada, and most of the schools I have been with do some type of lion dance, especially at Chinese New Year. Lots of fun, gotta love the party atmosphere

  5. #5
    BIU JI Guest
    Traditionaly what's the meaning behind the Unicorn?
    In a previous school we used the uincorn for the name of the cross over stance.

  6. #6
    Pakmei Guest

    Unicorn Dance

    Biu Ji,
    There are 3 types of dance associated with Chinese festivals which are: 1)Dragon Dance. 2)Unicorn Dance and 3)Lion Dance.

    These 3 animals are sacred in Chinese Religon, because the Dragon is the symbol of Royalty, the Unicorn is the symbol of Civilisation and the Lion (was a wild animal until Buddha tamed the beast).

    At Chinese New Year & Moon Cake (Mid-Autumn) Festival, the Lion dance is used to scare out/away the bad spirits of the old year, to make way for the new year ahead and bring luck and fortune to the community.

    The Unicorn dance is deemed by the Chinese as a higher being than the Lion, so therefore brings more unity to the community. You'll find that the Lion and Unicorn are sometimes used together and perform a greeting dance. Bringing more prosperity to the onookers and to the community who's greens the Lion & Unicorn eat.

    You will find tho, that out of the 2 dances, the Lion is a lot more energetic than the Unicorn, therefore the Lion dancers are more (or should I say absolutely knackered) than the Unicorn dancers.

    However, the Unicorn dance is a lot lower than the lion dance and looks less interesting.

    Dave Stevens

  7. #7
    Kung Lek Guest
    To answer the original post.

    Our school has a youth team and a veteran Lion Dance team.
    It is said that a southern Kung Fu school is not complete without Lion Dance in it's curriculum.

    It's a great thing to do, lots of fun, and a wicked workout when training it.

    peace(got some great LD pics on our site check my profile for the link.)

    Kung Lek

  8. #8
    BIU JI Guest
    We have a Lion in our school it belonged to my Si Gung, who passed away before I came to YKM, although I was at his funeral. The Lion is old and battered so it makes training with it a little hard but it's great to have it there.
    Do you know if there i s differences in how the Lion is made , these days I've heard they are much lighter. Apart from enjoys the celebrations themselves the Lion and Dragon is great training for stance and arms , particularly the wrists.
    Thanks for the info guys ,
    Gong hei fat choi. YKM ;)

  9. #9
    Shaolin Master Guest
    The Lion is still made the same, its weight can be altered by using different thicknesses of bamboo strands, also the paper quality used.
    Thicker may not necessarily be stronger nor is thinner (its somewhere in the middle)[Chinese quality paper used in lions is not usually very good standard, But Aus paper is too good :) ].
    The Lions typically come in around 5 sizes with 1 being the largest.
    Lion Dancing and also Lion Making are integral parts of Southern martial arts. In fact making the lion is a skill in itself (also past from teacher to student) that is special in many ways, also because you ensure the best quality unlike some rush jobs I have seen from overseas.

    Unicorn Dance is more simple(sorry I should say more repetitive) in its motions using continuing coiling the head movements then leading the posture, so instead of looking left and right (amongst many more things) like done in a lion the comparative would be circular motions. In the old days in Sydney, Choy Li Fut used to perform it.

    Shi Chan Long

  10. #10
    WongFeHung Guest
    Lion Dancing has to be the best supplementary training for Kung-Fu there is. Nothing else develops your stances-(the dancer's body should never be seen so the stances have to be low enough so that you are not a dancer, but lion legs), your waist-(to make the lion seem alive, the waist turns the head which means the whole body turns), shoulders-(Holding the head up,foward and pointing downwards is a feat in itself,and the snapping foward of the head is a grueling workout), faht-ging-(the side to side bobbing of the head requires a subtle snapping of the limbs), and stamina like lion dancing. The moves of the lion all have fighting application which means those applications are getting very powerful with training. Tail is just as difficult as the head due to the low bentover position which can make breathing more difficult unless done right, and the footwork should mimic the head. Another thing is it builds up the immune system-because during Chinese New Year and the week before and after, we do shows-and nobody is allowed to get sick!(it figures that this is done during the coldest time of the year too-dang it, I'm openning up a school in Florida!)

  11. #11
    Kung Lek Guest

    We have pics on our site of the Bok Mei school that was around in my hometown back in the seventies. They did Lion Dance for all the celebrations, autumn moon fest, new year, and so on.

    Also, there are not many Si Fu left in the world who have complete knowledge of Building the Lions.
    It is rare to find any that are built in North America.

    my Si Fu and I have "rebuilt" a Lion and it was no small undertaking just doing that. It took us hours to make it right and the bamboo weaving is really quite complex, never mind the painting patterns and the adherance of fur and glitter and shiny stuff.

    It was a lot of work for both Si Fu and me.
    Paid off in the end though, we gave new life to an old Lion and it still has a lot of use in it yet.

    I am curious what kind of Lion some of you use and why?

    What I mean is, does your Lion represent your school and style? How does it do so?

    Do you have a "prosperity" lion (Gold) or a comtemporary Lion (non-generals colours) or do you use the traditional Generals Lion?

    Gwan gong Lion, Lao Bei Lion Chang Fei Lion, Multicoloured/Rainbow Lion?
    Why do you use the genrals lion? How do you "express" with your Lion.

    Have you performed the "Hoi gong" with your Lion?
    do you follow the superstitions about Lion Dance?

    Lot's of questions, but I really enjoy Lion Dance it is definitely one of the cool things about doing Kung Fu.


    Kung Lek

  12. #12
    Shaolin Master Guest


    We build all our own Lions in the traditional FutShan Style.
    No Glowy, sparkly, modern looks as it is not traditional.
    Most common spectators enjoy the sparkly look rather than traditional though :(
    All ceremonies and traditions are followed. Especially after one is just built and used for the first time.
    Characteristic is a unique pattern beneath the horn as well as the actual school name on the back where the manufacturer usually puts their details.

  13. #13
    WongFeHung Guest
    We use the Guan Gong Lion for a few reasons, one the symbology of Guan Kung is that of martial morality, integrity, loyalty, courage and honor.(we are after all, a Hung-Ga school) Also- it happens to be our school colors! We also have gold lions for buisnesses, and we are building red, pink and white for weddings. We always awaken our lions prior to use. I would really be interested in talking about the various puzzles and how to do them. Tat Mau-Wong showed some in his tapes including seven stars around the moon, and eating the snake, but there are others.

  14. #14
    CannonFist Guest

    Kung Lek

    The colour of the lions fur/eyebrows and beard can also represent the seniority of the school. A new kung fu school would use a lion with a black beard while an older school would use a lion with a white beard.

  15. #15
    CannonFist Guest

    Lion dance etiquette

    What are some of the lion dancing etiquette?

    One that I have heard of is the lion head should not be significantly higher than another lion of another school unless a challenge is being put forward. Many years ago over here in Sydney, the lions of two schools cross paths. The Choy Lee Fut school accused the Yau Kung Mun school of issuing a challenge because of the height of the head. As it was filmed on video the Yau Kung Mun school formally apologised by treating the seniors in the CHoy Lee Fut school to a meal in a Chinese restaurant.

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