Practice and Learning Lion Dance are organised on every Sunday afternoon 3:30-4:30, at Trumpington Meadows Primary School, Kestrel Rise, Cambridge CB2 9AY.
Lion / Unicorn Dances
In Britain and around the world, Chinese Lion Dancers and Unicorn Dancers have played an importance part in many festivals. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. It may also be performed at other important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies, or may be used to honour special guests by Chinese communities. The Lion can be accompanied by a “laughing Buddha” Someone wearing a mask and a robe teases the lion with a fan to make him jump, roll around or lie down.
If it’s an outside event involving a street performance people along the way will “feed “hong paos” with money inside to the Lion by handing a red envelope through its mouth. This is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the giver and is considered a donation for the martial arts school setting up the performance. Businesses, likewise, will hang a head of lettuce or some greens from the ceiling with the red envelope inside. The team will have to reach up to “pick” the greens. Usually the dancer in the body position is required to lift and support the head dancer so they together can reach the head of lettuce. They “eat” the money and spit out the greens, scattering the fresh leaves around to “spread” out the good luck and also to symbolize a “fresh start” for the New Year, business enterprise or other event.
The Qilin or Chinese unicorn is the most important of the four sacred animals (Qilin 麒麟, Dragon 龙, Phoenix 凤, Turtle 龟) in Chinese mythology. Like the dragon and phoenix, the Qilin has features of an animal and as it resembles the Western Unicorn, it is also known as the Chinese Unicorn
The Qilin is said to appear only during auspicious times or during periods of great peace and harmony. Since these are ideal social conditions that people aspire to, the Qilin is often shown in various art forms and used as a decorative symbol. It is also represented in the Qilin dance although it is less common than the dragon dance and lion dance. Qilin dance Qilin dance is especially prevalent among the Cantonese and Hakkas dialect groups and is often performed during festive and religious events.
Both the Lion and Unicorn Dances are extremely entertaining, colourful and energetic displays that can be performed inside or out. These outstanding athletes can perform a traditional Lion or Unicorn Dance in fabulous costumes and also offer Tai Chi demonstration. The dances of the prancing Lion and Unicorn, boisterous and loud, are a powerful symbol of the Chinese Culture in multi-cultural Britain.
If you would like to book for the Chinese New Year, Chinese Wedding or to mark an opening or other auspicious occasion, please contact the Chinese Community Centre for more information, our rates are very competitive.
We are pleased to announce that we have recently purchased a Dragon costume that will be delivered in due course. We hope to be able to offer Dragon Dance performance in time for the next Chinese New Year.