If you have heard about 'Lion dance', you know that it is not the dance in the traditional meaning of the word for the dancers. If your aim is to find a good dance to learn at your free time as a hobby, a Lion dance is not a variant. Why not? Let us see what exactly Lion dance means and why it is better to be watched than to dance.
Lion dance is an old Chinese dance. Though nobody knew for sure when the Golden Lion was initially spotted, there were speculations that it was sighted during the Tang Dynasty. The dance however was believed to have originated thousands of years ago.
There are two main styles of lion dancing: The Golden Northern Lion and the Southern Lion. The Northern Lion is shaggy and is usually red, orange and yellow in color. It is sometimes referred to as the 'Peking Lion' for its resemblance of a Pekinese dog. The Northern Lion Dance is less common than the other styles of lions. The Southern Lion, also known as the Cantonese Lion, has more color variety and is not shaggy.
According to the Chinese folklore, the Golden Lion originated from Tibet. Bordering the country of Tibet are the Kun-lun Mountains in the North and the Himalayas in the South. In this land of greenery, temples headed by abbots dotted the landscape for its people are arid followers of the Lama group. In these mountains, mysterious beasts occasionally traversed. Because of the danger they posed, these Lamas, besides having to devote their time in their religious studies, also have to learn martial arts to defend themselves. One day, an old monk found a pair of lion cubs in the Kun-Lun Mountains. The cubs being adorable and harmless, with their coats of golden fur, immediately found favor with the old monk who named them "Golden Lions".
Subsequently, the old monk raised the cubs to mature as ferocious lions. As these lions were fierce in nature, nobody dared go near them. Fortunately, upon the blessings of the gods, the lions were tamed and they became inseparable companions of the old monk.
Lion dance performance is a very spectacular and breathtaking, especially if you are fond of such kind of national dancing and have an opportunity to see the performance originally, in China where the atmosphere and air are an organic part of the dance.