Lion dance is an important ritual in Chinese tradition believed to bring good luck and drive away evil or negative spirits on auspicious occasions. A good performance has the ability to bring good luck and happiness. Chinese associations and kung fu schools use lion dance to display the organization’s character and strength.
You can see our lion dance performances during:
- Chinese (Lunar) New Year
- Grand Openings
- Corporate Events
- Cultural Celebrations
A traditional lion dance performance includes lions, a percussion team, and sometimes a “clown”.
A lion team consists of two people:
- head player
Controls the eyes, ears and mouth of the Lion – exhibiting the emotions and character.
- tail player
Matches the head player’s steps, wags the tail and lifts the head player.
Each of the lion’s moves has its own associated rhythm and is supposed to match with the music. Musical ensemble accompanying the lion dance consists of:
A Buddha/Clown player provokes emotions and plays with the lion while communicating proper directions during the dance.
Lion Dance Styles
We offer Lions that come in three distinctive styles: Southern, Taiwanese, and Northern.
Southern Lion Dance
Southern lions are native to the Guangdong Province, in South China. Our Southern style lions come in a variety of different colors to set the mood and theme of the client’s event!
Taiwanese Lion Dance
The Taiwanese Lion is very distinct in appearance, compared to the Southern and Northern Lions. It’s face is flat with a very angry expression, it is said to protect the performers from Taiwan’s original, non-Chinese inhabitants, or from competing immigrant Chinese clans.
A tradition of martial arts training was also utilized and developed based on this style. This training apparently included the use of shields emblazoned with a lion totem, reflecting the Chinese association of the lion with physical agility and power. It is not clear to what extent the use of lion totems was married to the Lion Dance form. But even as late as the beginning of the twentieth century, the Lion Dance in Taiwan featured the use of a rattan round shield-like frame, translated as lion “shield” rather than a lion “head”.
According to legends that date back to over a thousand years, the lion was the ninth son of the dragon and served as the king’s most fearless guard. Lions are a mascot, symbolic of courage and power. In Chinese culture they are usually seen in front of royal palaces, offices and residences all over the world. An example of this homage can be seen at the Marco Polo Bridge in China where 485 lions are lined up, symbolic of China’s entry into World War II.
Symbolic sequences in the lion dance include waking, sniffing, bowing, playing, searching, fighting, eating, licking, lifting and sleeping.
In a traditional performance, the first sequence the lion performs is to bow three times in a symbol of respect and honor. In Chinese culture, three bows are a sign of the deepest reverence for someone, or something.
The lion may then express a number of different emotions: curiosity, happiness, hunger, fear, respect and anger. After showing respect to the object being blessed, the Lion begins to dance. During this sequence you may see the lion striking kung fu poses, rolling on the ground, playing with the ‘clown’, and performing lifts. When the lion is done playing, he gets hungry and searches for food. This represents the spiritual battle. The lion must now be fed in order to be satisfied and to achieve its goal.
The eating ritual consists of three symbolic items that satisfy the Lions hunger:
- Oranges – symbolizes longevity and health with its spherical shape
- Lettuce – symbolizes wealth and luck
- Red Envelope – symbolizes good fortune
The lion eats the orange first and spits it back out – it’s good luck for whoever is able to catch an orange with their hands. Lettuce is eaten next and splattered everywhere, symbolic of spreading wealth to all who are witnessing the ritual.
The final piece for the Lion to eat is the red envelope. Good fortune is obtained by the host when the Lion consumes a red envelope. It is customary for the host to put money into the red envelope.
Looking to hire a lion dance performance team?
We’d love to hear from you
Please feel free to submit any lion dance show requests or inquiries below. One of our representatives will contact you as soon as possible.
Please send submissions for:
- Lion Dance Inquiries
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Sponsorship Opportunities