The history of lion dancing dates back more than a thousand years and has always been an integral part of chinese culture around the globe and in Brunei Darusslam.
The lion itself is regarded as a guardian creature to drive away evil spirits, which is why many ancient buildings and palaces you see today, have lion statues guarding the entrances. Although there are many stories on how lion dancing came about, most will agree that the dance is said to bring good luck and prosperity. For this reason, it is very common to see the lion dance being performed on special occasons, such as festivals, birthdays, weddings, opening of businesses and the Chinese New Year.
Traditionally, a typical performance usually involves two performers (representing the head and tail of the lion) mimicking the movements of the lion, accompanied by the sound of a drum, cymbals and gong. The person responsible for the head portrays the emotions of the lion whilst the tail coordinates its movements with the front, and in some cases carrying out acrobatic stunts.
Lion dancing has become very popular over the years and practised within chinese communities across the world, especially with the younger generations. Lion dance competitions have also gained widespread popularity and media coverage. These performances require the dancers to jump between poles (or Jong), demonstrating accuracy, coordination and acrobatic skills.
In Brunei Darussalam The Lion dance performance are are celebrated every Chinese New Year. The individuals behind the lion dance are youths from Chung Hwa Secondary School. They trained for months for the special event and it requires a lot of practice and hard work. The lion dance troupe from Chung Hwa will put on a spectacular show every year where they would leap from stilt to stilt as high as 10 feet above the air in special events to commemorate the New Year.
The Chung Hwa Youths will also perform in commercial premises that would include “Ang Pows” or red envelopes that were hung above the front door and ceiling, which the lions ‘consumed’. The lion then moved around the premises as a gesture of bringing good luck and fortune to businesses and the public alike.
The video below are the lion dance by Chung Hwa Students. Sources from Youtube.
Abdul Malik Omar
The AMO Times
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