Lion and Buddha at a lion dance

The lion dance originated in China close to a thousand years ago. There are different variations of the lion dance in other Asian cultures including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore,with each region possessing their own styles. Lion dances can be broadly categorised into two styles, Northern and Southern. Northern dance was used as entertainment for the imperial court. The northern lion is usually red, orange, and yellow (sometimes with green fur for the female lion), shaggy in appearance, with a golden head. The northern dance is acrobatic and is mainly performed as entertainment. Sometimes, they perform dangerous stunts. Southern dance is more symbolic. It is usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits and to summon good luck and fortune. The southern lion exhibits a wide variety of colour and has a distinctive head with large eyes, a mirror on the forehead, and a single horn at center of the head. The lion dance also symbolises the myth of the Chinese new year The Lion dance is often confused with the Chinese Dragon Dance, which features a team of around ten or more dancers. The Lion Dance usually consists of two people. Canton is the homeland of the southern style. Traditionally the Southern Lion has always been performed by kung fu schools and at Moi Fa we carry on that proud tradition.

Strength of mind and body are developed, power and agility are improved and adapting to your environment is essential. For the group it requires team work and builds a strong bond in the group. During the Chinese New Year, lion dancers from martial art school will visit the store front of businesses to choi chang (lit. “picking the greens”). The business would tie a red envelope filled with money to a head of lettuce and hang it high above the front door. The lion will approach the lettuce like a curious cat, consume the lettuce and spit out the leaves but not the money. The lion dance is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the business and the dancers receive the money as reward. The tradition becomes a mutual transaction. Other types of “greens” may also be used to challenge the troupe, for instance using pineapples, pomelos, bananas, oranges, sugar cane shoots, earthen pots to create pseudo barriers and challenges. The lion dance normally follows a story such as lion exists Cave, Lion Crosses Bridge or Lion Eats the snake. Each dance routine tests the skill of the performers while entertaining the audience and also have cultural significances.

Lion Dancing training is an excellent way to develop fitness and is a excellent supplement to regular kung fu training.

Moi Fa Demo Team and Workshops

Lion Dance workshop at a school

The Moi Fa Lion Dance Team can provide lion dance workshops to any school or dance group. We work mainly in the Tyne & Wear Area, Durham, Tees and Northumberland and provide customised workshops to primary & secondary schools, dance groups and colleges.

Our demo team is well established and have performed across the north east for over 10 years. We have performed in schools, public building, factories and restaurants, wedding partys’ and even a prison. Our busiest times are Chinese New Year when we perform in schools, restuarants and museums and other public facilities and over the Summer months when Fete’s, Festivals and Weddings are popular..

The lion dance aims to bring good luck to an event with the lively dancing and music and acrobatics.

Our busiest time is Chinese New Year and early booking is highly recommended. We can provide workshops at anytime for culture weeks, sports or dance festivals and the workshops generally include Music, Dance and cultural elements which make it interesting for a wide audience.