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Thread: Chinese Lion Dance

  1. #31
    hasayfu Guest

    Traditional Changs

    Thanks to Kung Lek for all the chang info. South East Asia still performs alot of the traditional changs since their Chinese communities were established long ago and they retain alot of the traditions and superstitions.
    Unfortunately, these traditional changs are boring to the uneducated viewer and there is a lot of room for interpretation which can lead to offending the requestor. Thus less and less teams are keeping this tradition.
    I was told that some businesses used to invite several teams to do a chang and if they did it incorrectly, they wouldn't get the money.
    Our kwoon does the drunken routine and it's much like kung lek described. We used to do the crab routine but instead of a person in a suit, a live crab is used.
    I've seen water changs and was told that we used to do one but it didn't involve not spilling water. The skill was in mounting the the bucket and spraying the water to the crowd.
    There are many other changs, Fruit, Coconut, Daikon as well as puzzles where you have to unlock the code which is sometimes based on the I-ching.

  2. #32
    bean curd Guest


    my understanding of the crab is different to that of kung leks.
    the obsticle of the crab was/is a favourite of fish mongers and restaurant owners (they also love drunken lion).
    the body of the crab is represented by a wicker basket/cane basket, the eyes two manderines and claws usually two sugar cane.
    the red money and lettuce are usually placed infront of the crab.
    this obsticle is not hard to accomplish.

    a more difficult addition to this obsticle, is
    called "crab within a crab".

    the traditional way is to destroy the basket and the outside crab, which is described above. the danger is that there is a live crab inside the wicker basket, and the player must not injure/hurt/de-claw/kill this live crab.

    a live crab represents "a thriving business".
    in cantonese the word for "live crab" rhymes with the word for "business".

    therefore to de-claw or kill the live crab is tantamount to destroying the business of your host.

    to return it intact and alive is seen as a good sign that the hosts business will continue to thrive and prosper

  3. #33
    Paul Skrypichayko Guest
    I've heard/seen the crab done both ways, basket, and live crab. There are a lot of different changs shown in those world lion dance championships that are hosted in Singapore and Malaysia. I recommend checking those out.

  4. #34
    Kung Lek Guest

    yes for sure!!

    I'll say.

    If you can get your hands on the Genting VCD's or even videos from taiwan, malaysia or singapore to see all the different varieties of traditional and non-traditional lion dance you will be surprised to see all the varieties and to boot you get to see some realy good skills and acts from these competition teams.

    A lot of the "new" lion dance routines involve poles and moving along very high poles.
    This was developed from traditional routines where they would use a pole to lift the head and the dancer in the head up along side a building to get the greens.

    Many times, the player from the tale would not go up with the head, but instead would steady the post with other team members while the head went up to get the greens.

    In the modern dances, both members in the lion make their way along a series of poles and sometimes on double cable wires to get to the end of the series where the chang is. Then they return back along the poles and wires to dismount.

    I had not heard of the "crab within a crab" version before, that is interesting.
    the point about the sounds of the words business and crab rhyming is worthy of note also!


    Kung Lek

  5. #35
    illusionfist Guest
    Hey kung lek, do youknow where you can get those VCD's? I saw some clips on the net and those are some insane moves those guys are doing. Very entertaining.

    Peace :D

  6. #36
    fiercest tiger Guest

    the changs- were sharpened for fighting.

    in sydney in the early eights most kung fu schools carried weapons and the changs where sharpened for fighting.

    the drum had a mini weapons rack withe a tiger folk , daggers, poles, spears, broadswords. what ever they could fight on the **** thing. dont see much of that anymore. :D


  7. #37
    Paul Skrypichayko Guest
    I think you can get some of the VCDs through Sifu H.P. Siow. He is one of the coaches for Kun Seng Keng; the world champion lion dance team numerous times in the last ten years. If you do a search, you can find their website (sorry, I can't find the URL right now).

    There is also lots of information on the liondance mailing list, and some of Master Siow's students on there as well.

    In HK, I have heard that you might be able to get them from Yue Hwa department store, and through one student of Chan Hon Chung (sorry, can't remember his name either. He was lion dance champ in 1986 or something.

  8. #38
    Kung Lek Guest


    Illusionfist- go to this site to find out where you can get the vcds or videos of the genting competitions as well as other Lion Dance material.

    It's a really good site, and if ya like, join the mailing list. Lots of great information disemminated daily through the folks here.

    and here is another one!



  9. #39
    wushu chik Guest

    Lion Dance!!

    I just wanted to tell everyone that Daniel Leung and his lion dance team came up and did a BEAUTIFUL lion dance in Medford, Oregon today. It was AWESOME!!!! How many of the kwoons that everyone goes to do lion dancing (competition or traditional)?? I am wondering because it's beginning to be a big thing now.

    I am ALWAYS Kung Fu Fighting.....what about you?

  10. #40
    SaekSan Guest

    We do traditional LD.

    It's really great to see the surge in interest on this artform. Anyone other lion dancers around?

  11. #41
    Jaguar Wong Guest
    I used to do it (I did come out of "retirement" this past September for a one time deal, though). Our school did traditional Lion Dance. When I started at the school, it wasn't being taught, becuase my Sifu was always told that even though he was learning the traditional stuff the lion dancing was still for the Chinese students (sucks, huh? :)). Anwyay after about a year or two, we were hooked up with a Lion Dance teacher that used to have a big school in San Franicsco (and later moved to LA). He was more than happy to teach us, but the day we were going to make the road trip out, he found out we weren't Chinese. We kind of freaked because we thought he already knew, but he still decided to meet with us anyway, which was cool.

    He had some great stuff in his house (a great Lion Dance photo album from the late 60's through the late 70's). He quit teaching the Lion Dancing because his students didn't appreciate what he was showing them, so he just stuck to teaching Choy Lay Fut. But when he saw how excited and eager we were to learn it, he decided to give us a shot. Man those were some wicked training sessions. But the strenght that I built from Lion Dancing is more than worth it. Your Kung Fu has to be good to pull that crap off :)

    My shoulders, forearms, and legs got a lot stronger (even though the Lion head is paper mache' -sp?- the body/tail adds some weight, plus all the sharp movements that you've got to pull off for long periods of time). It didn't improve my kicking or punching power or anything, but it did wonders for my trips/sweeps and takedowns. I only learned the head, beacuse of time constraints (we had to travel to LA for 3-4 hour "Lion Dancing" seminars basically, but he would come down to our school every once and a while too). He was basically choosing one person to teach them one part, and we were supposed to teach each other the rest. My bro did the tail, and we had some guys in a band learn the music. In fact our drummer was so amazing, we basically read each other, and pretty much knew what the other was going for. We did a demo once where the school we were at did the Lion Dance (the learned it from the same guy as us, but we also helped them out), but our guy did the drums. During the whole performance, the other Sifus kept looking over to see who was drumming, instead of watching the Lion. One of Tat Mau Wong's students came up and started talking with our drummer, but I didn't hear too much of what they were saying, but the guy was impressed.

    Anyway, I know the head pretty well, and I can sub in for the tail, and the sybmols and gong, but I can't for the life of me play the drum. I was always too busy teaching the head to learn it, and it has caught up with me on more than one occaision. :(

    Jaguar Wong
    The 6th Deadly Venom!

    Jaguar's Wife (To "Judo" Gene Lebell): "Excuse me, my friend (Tigerstyle) wants to know if we can take a picture of you choking him."
    Gene LeBell (in a gravely voice): "If he don't mind, I don't mind."
    - actual event from DragonFest 1999

  12. #42


    I wonder if it is the same man I met when I lived in san Fran? he was very nice and balding with thick glasses. anyway he taught us lion dancing in exchange for his daughter to learn from our master privatly and we did many dances to open up businesses in the bay area, I was the drummer in many of them. And I enjoyed it very much. It seems to be a lost artin the US except in San Fran where it is everywhere.

  13. #43
    wushu chik Guest
    I asked because it seems to be stuck in San Francisco, and New York. Our school does Lion Dancing, and they are getting pretty good at it. We have been learning from various Lion Dance Teams on the West Coast. It's fun! And there are so many people interested in it it's amazing. I believe that if more schools would do it publicly, it would promote that area of Chinese Culture dramatically, and because it's such a "new" thing to most, it's amazing to see the different reactions!!

    I am ALWAYS Kung Fu Fighting.....what about you?

  14. #44
    wu_de36 Guest
    there is a school in Columbus, Ohio that does Lion Dance... Wing Lam school Sifu Jeff Nayers I think.

    I don't know much about it, but I was impressed with their dance.

  15. #45
    Robinf Guest
    We also teach/learn the lion dance. Unfortunately, there are only three of us who show up to those classes consistently--makes it very tiring.


    Surrender yourself to nature and be all that you are.

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