Lung Ying Academy Presents
The Dragon Dance and the The Lion Dance at The Essential Gathering Festival
History of the Lion Dance
The story goes that once upon a time the Emperor had a dream in which there were many sorrows and evils plaguing the land. The Emperor prayed and asked the gods how he could prevent these evils from occurring. The gods told him that a lion would protect them and fight back the evils. The Chinese people had never see a lion before, but had heard stories that the lion was the king of all the other animals, so the monk combined all the lucky or magical animals he could think of and so made a lion.
Lion dances can be categorised into two styles, Chinese Northern and Southern. The Chinese Northern dance was used as entertainment for the Emperors imperial court and elsewhere. The northern lion is usually shaggy in appearance, with a golden head. The northern dance is acrobatic and may include dangerous stunts.
The Chinese Southern dance is more symbolic. It is usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune. The Chinese southern lion exhibits a wide variety of colour and has a distinctive head with large eyes, a mirror on the forehead, and a single horn at center of the head. Lion dance costumes are considered to be spiritually protective, as they are traditionally blessed before use.
History of the Dragon Dance
The Dragon Dance itself originated during the Han Dynasty and was started by the Chinese who had shown great belief and respect towards the dragon. It is believed to have begun as part of the farming and harvest culture, also with origins as a method of healing and preventing sickness. It was already a popular event during the Song Dynasty where it had become a folk activity and like the lion dance, was most often seen in festive celebrations.
As the dragon gives people a feeling of great respect, it is often called the Sacred Dragon. The emperors of ancient China considered themselves as the dragon. The Dragon is also the emblem of Imperial Authority. It symbolizes supernatural power, goodness, fertility, vigilance and dignity.
You can find out more about these ancient symbolic dance’s and the Lung Ying Academy at kungfu.ie
Join us at the festival this may bank holiday for this highly skilled performance. It is surely not to be missed!