Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 National Lion Dance Championships


Hey all,

I was strolling over to the gym at Orchard on Monday night when I heard a loud clamor of drums and cymbals. Really shrill cymbals. Investigating, I discovered that the official Ngee Ann City Lion Dancing Championships were being held all week. Having only heard of dragon dancing, I resolved to return and get a full experience. 


On Wednesday, I headed back to Ngee Ann City. Pronounced "neon ," Ngee Ann is yet another glistening mall with luxury items that I only encounter via song lyrics (think "Gucci gucci"). Out in the plaza, the stage was set for the competition. This night featured the semifinals of the freestyle category, with an intermission performance by the youth winners of the traditional category. 

It was a really impressive spectacle. About 6 or 7 guys sprinted in and assumee their positions next to their instruments, with one on the big drum and the rest with cymbals. The sets created by these teams were very interesting, and set the stage for the stories that they were trying to tell. Above, you can see two cranes squawking at the lion. I'm not sure what the story line was there. The first team had the lion eating and spitting out a water snake (2013 is the year of the snake, so that may have had something to do with it).



The lion then entered. Now this was the coolest part. It was two guys, one as the head and front legs and the other at the rear, moving completely in sync. This was nice by itself, until they jumped on these pole things, as you can see above and below. This poles were a few metres tall and pretty difficult to balance on, even if you were just by hopping along by yourself. But the tag team was bounding across them with ease, even standing on each other's shoulders at times.



Preparation just before the beginning of their team's lion dance.

Traditional lion dance. So impressive. If you look closely, the bottom fellow is grabbing the top guy around his waist. This was done multiple times.
The traditional dance was similar, but without the huge poles. The story had something to do with a hunt for food, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Fascinating evening all around.



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