Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lion Dance – The Origin and The Making of… | #RentakSelangor

Do you know the different between Lion Dance versus Dragon Dance?

Both Lion Dance and Dragon Dance originated from Chinese culture in China and have spread to other Asia countries as well as other parts of the world. A Lion Dance is a 2 dancers performance mimicking a lion’s movement. Whereas a dragon dance, are performed using rods that the dancers hold up high to raise the dragon flexible body.

It is very common in Malaysia to see a Lion Dance performance during the Chinese New Year festival also during important occasions such as business opening, product launches or even to welcome important guests. Unlike Dragon Dance, it is often being showcased during Chinese New Year festival in other countries however in Malaysia, it is rare to see Dragon Dance performances.

Lion Dance
The story goes as far back as Tang Dynasty when an Emperor was having a nightmare he was saved by a lion. Ever since that, Lion Dance has been a central part of a Lunar New Year celebration for the Chinese. Another important part of Malaysia Lion Dance is that it is known to be associated with Southern China heritage and culture, right down to the martial art form - kung-fu. Aside for it martial art benefits, it also offers cardiovascular type exercise. By learning Lion Dance, one get to master the dance and its heritage as well as culture, martial art and last but not least, provide a form of exercise for the body, mind and soul.

Master Siow Ho Phiew; a veteran, a subject matter expert a.k.a Lion Dance Sifu established Wan Seng Hang (WSH) Dragon & Lion Arts in 1986, in Subang Bestari, Selangor. Master Siow has 30 years of experience in making, choreographing, teaching and participating in Lion Dance world wide championship, a person to be reckoned with. His name is internationally known all over the world that now, Master Siow has path the way and made Malaysia as one of the best award winning Lion Dance troupe, Lion Dance makers, music producer (our Lion Dance music is known and used everywhere in most of the countries [yes, even China]) and trend setter.

At Master Siow’s Lion Dance Class, dancers will learn 18 types of music and each signifies a certain movement or action such as scratching, stretching, teasing, playing, eating, leaping and resting. And the current shows, the Lion does a few acrobatic acts such somersault and flip. Being the master of Lion Dance; Master Siow not only train the dances on the dance performance and musical instruments, he also educates his pupils on the history of Lion Dance.

For those curious few, every Lion are differentiated by colours and each colours represent character dated long time ago in China.

Red - Guan Gong or Lord Guan; the second of the brothers from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Lion : Xing Shi - Translates to ‘awakened lion’ and has a red face with a black beard.

Yellow - Liu Bei ; a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty and also the eldest brother in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Lion : Rui Shi - Auspicious lion, is a symbol of wisdom with yellow or gold face and white beard and fur.

Black - Zhang Fei ; the youngest of the three brothers.
Lion : Dou Shi - Fighting lion (representing youth), often performed by beginners.

Green - Zhao Yun; regarded as the fourth brother.
Lion : Qing Shi -  Popular with the Hokkien people and Taiwanese as it represents friendship and goodwill.

For those interested to learn, Master Siow also provides free classes. Do give them a call to understand and learn more.

Wan Seng Hang (WSH) Dragon & Lion Arts
No 22, Jalan Bulan U5/168                               
Bandar Pinggiran Subang
40150 Shah Alam
Tel : +60 3-7845 1239

Rentak Selangor Fam Trip is in collaboration with Selangor Youth Generation Development, Sports, Cultural and Entrepreneurship Development, UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor), Tourism Selangor and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.

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