At the LED Lion Dance in Singapore the head of the lion is often decorated with pompoms, bells and the fur should not, a priori, be synthetic. It is often sheepskin or rabbit (according to the Chinese sign of the year – no, it’s a joke).
Dancers are often black belts of kung fu because the movements of this martial art are used for choreography. Imagine how you have to be in sync so you do not break your face and be able to play all the feelings of the lion, jumping in all directions. Thus are expressed joy, anger, drunkenness (and yes), fear. Some lions are particularly mischievous and wink at you while continuing to contort.
Sometimes the dance starts with the awakening of the lion or the baptism of the lion. An important character of the community has a size that must touch gently with a stick the eight key points of the body of the lion. He must awaken, among other things, his eyes, his nose, his mouth, his ears. Each key point has a symbolic meaning. For the eyes, we want a clear and precise vision, for the nose, the energy coming out through the nostrils, for the mouth, a roaring in all directions, for the ears, a fine hearing that allows you to hear 10,000 km.
Salad and hongpao
Once the lion is awake, a bunch of salad leaves are glued to his mouth. Another version makes him go get this bouquet at the top of a mast. But beware, in the salad hides a red envelope (auspicious lah) with hard cash and stomp to reward the dance troupe. Then follows a funny moment during which the facetious lion spits the salad in the face of everyone.
Acrobatics on wooden poles
While there, we are usually completely blown away. Now the lion is rushing on an extremely dangerous structure made of raised wooden posts (you must explain to your children not to do the same thing at home). He jumps from one post to another with ease, while continuing to make faces or smiles. His pompons jump with the rhythm of the drums and you hold your breath with each acrobatics. Evil spirits are thought to have calmed down now.
Competitive and anti-doping
As we said before, dancers are top athletes. And so, international lion dance competitions are organized around the world. This year, last February, Singapore hosted several foreign federations to compete with other dancers. It turns out that Lion City won the gold medal! FYI, the Singaporean Lion Dance Federation signed the national anti-doping agreement.
Bringing her lions home
Well, it’s okay now. You want to experience this lion dance at home . You do not have to be stomped on by poorly educated tourists. At first, you have until March 19th to do it.
As there are a ton and a half of different associations and guilds, it is best to get closer to the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation.
There are two styles on offer, the traditional and the most modern with sometimes surprising variations. Prefer the classic and choose a group that has received an award recently. It takes between 168 SGD for a lion and 788 SGD to have two lions and a dragon. Do not be fooled by the dragon. This one is carried by sticks, and the dancers are therefore outside the body.