The story behind the traditional lion dance dates back more than 1,000 years. As a result of the Chinese diaspora, the tradition has since found its way all over the world, and it is performed by enthusiasts of all races, not just the Chinese.
In Singapore, lion dance performances are common during the Chinese New Year , as they are regarded as auspicious. A Chinese family would welcome the lion dance troupe into their home to perform on important occasions, and the lion dance is also often performed at opening ceremonies.
The dance comes in different styles and may involve different types of 'lions' as well. For example, the ones typically used here are the Southern and Northern lions, with the former being more popular of the two.
The He Shan style is commonly preferred by lion dance troupes here because of its expressive repertoire of footwork and hand movement. The beating drums and clashing cymbals resonate in tandem with the dance, as it swings from a quick sidestep one moment, to a gradual respectful bow to the audience the next. The drummer performs with gusto, alluding to a lion's formidable presence.
To find out more about this unique cultural experience, visit the Wenyang Sports Association, one of the top lion dance troupes in Singapore. It won the prestigious Ngee Ann City Lion Dance Championship four times in a row, and was the champion in the 2008 Vietnam World Lion Dance Championship.
Alternatively, experience first-hand the intensity of the Ngee Ann City National Lion Dance Championship, usually held in the month of September every year.