Lion Dance Workshop
Thursday 31st January 2013
Kung fu master Matthew Scott from Shaolin Fists and his assistant Fletcher, armed with traditional Chinese drums and cymbals gave the Lower four pupils the huge privilege of rehearsing the steps taken by the flamboyant Chinese dragons during the Chinese New Year parades. Wearing these spectacular masks the girls practised the traditional steps and the ceremony of the lettuce and the oranges.
Chinese celebrations often include a traditional lion dance which is thought to bring good luck. There are usually two dancers. One acts as the head and the other the body. They dance to a drum, cymbals and a gong. On the head of the lion is mirror so that evil spirits will be frightened away by their own reflections. As the lion runs along the streets he begins to visit different places. On his way he meets another person, the ‘Laughing Buddha’ who is dressed in monk’s robes and a mask. He teases the lion with a fan made of banana-leaves which makes the lion jump around. The lion dancers need to be very fit. As the lion moves from place to place he looks for some green vegetables such as lettuce which are hung above the doors of houses or businesses. Hidden in the leaves is a red packet of money. The lion eats the lettuce and red packet. He then scatters lettuce leaves to symbolize a fresh start for the new year and the spreading of good luck.
The girls all took turns in imitating the moves and were quite exhausted by the strength required to manage the costume.