Special Lion Dance Performance @ Semenyih

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I was at Semenyih visiting my sister and went to Pustaka Rakyat to buy some books for my son. While there, we were informed that there will be a special lion dance performance on metal stands. As such, we stayed back to watch the performance which indeed was a spectacular performance by this very skilled Lion Dance Troupe.


According to All Malaysian Info, the lion dance is a vigorous form of dance that is usually performed during Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Year.

The origins of the lion dance are linked closely to the origins of the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is said that in ancient times, a mythological creature known as Nian terrorised China and devoured its people on the eve of the new year. The only animal that managed to wound this beast was the lion. Thus, in an attempt to frighten the beast, the villagers decided to mimic the lion with lions made of cloth.

In accordance with this legend, the dance is believed to usher good fortune, as well as ward off evil spirits.

The lion dance calls for perfect co-ordination, elegance and nerves of steel. Two dancers are usually needed to give life to a "lion" - one to control the movements of the head, eyes and mouth; the other to act as the body. The first dancer that controls the head determines the movements, while the second must work in tandem with him.

This isn't a simple task as the lion's head, which is brilliantly adorned with feathers, fur and glitter, weighs from 9kg to 15kg, a considerably heavy burden to hold aloft while moving vigorously.

The head is usually constructed of papier mache and bamboo, complete with eyes that blink and a mouth that snaps. Therefore, the first dancer must have perfect co-ordination inspite of the burden.

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