Tuesday, 31 January 2023

The Roar Of The Lions' Dance | Chinatown

I was pleasantly surprised to hear frenetic drumbeats yesterday during my Chinatown walk. It's the telltale sound of a celebration, and true enough it came from two Lion dance troupes making the rounds, performing in front of (and in) Chinese stores to bring good luck and fortune during the New Year. Naturally, the dancers are given red envelopes with money as rewards for their efforts.

Aside from Chinese New Year, the dances play an important role in the consecration of buildings and temples, business openings, official celebrations, and other religious rites.

The Lion dance (舞獅) is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture, in which performers in intricately-made lion costumes perform ritualized and stylized dances for entertainment and spiritual purposes. 

I followed the two troupes as much as I can...one troupe had a yellow lion while the other's was pink.  Chinese lion dance has close relations to kung fu and the dancers are usually martial art members of the local kung fu club or school. From the troupe members t-shirts, I noted their affiliation to "Jook Lum Gee Tong Long Pai" followed by Southern Praying Mantis. 

Searching online for some clarifications, I found the first title is indeed a renowned kung-fu school in Philadelphia (?), while the second is a Chinese martial art originating with the Hakka people. Confusing to say the least...however with the deafening drum beats and cymbals ringing in everyone ears, I couldn't ask for explanations.

AI-Generated | The Tea House & Street Series

Lin Dai. (1934-1964) I chose to name this portrait as the screen goddess Lin Dai. Born in Guangxi, China in 1934, she became the foremost st...