(Text by Reporter Xing Beilin) On February 7, the “King of Lion Dance” Lion Dance Competition was held in Shanghai Westgate Mall. 16 teams from 4 major domestic lion dance groups including Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Dragon and Lion Dance Association, Shenzhen Taiguhong Lion Dance Group, Guangzhou Biqitang and Shanghai Sanlin Dragon and Lion Dance Team competed on the scene for the “admission tickets” of the final to be the new “King of Lion Dance”. The Final will be held on February 25.
The competition this time adopted the mode of “Lions Leaping over Dragon Gate” for the first time and included many kinds of competition forms from PK Match of Individual Players and Knockout Match by Optional Exercise to Match Race with Designated Props and Innovative Hip-pop Lion Dance Performance. The reporter saw at the scene that competitors of each team exerted themselves to the utmost. They either somersaulted and leapt on the quincuncial piles of nearly three meters high, or performed their own stunts on a high platform stacked up by several benches. Ms. Chen, “coming across” the competition, told the reporter that she had just planned to purchase special goods for the Spring Festival with her kid, without expecting to watch such a lively and splendid lion dance competition, so she felt excited. “This is the first time I have watched lion dance performances at the scene, which are extremely splendid and further highlight the atmosphere of Spring Festival,” she said.
Apart from holding the 20-day Lion Dance Competition, Westgate Mall also made a lot of efforts to arrange and decorate the shopping mall including specially making 15 completely handmade and exquisite dance lions. Among the 15 dance lions, three in red, yellow and black respectively were placed for the “Lions with Blue Blood” at the entrance of the mall. The fire-eyed dance lions were matched with a huge ball bundled up by bamboos, displaying a jubilant and harmonious atmosphere of “auspicious lions playing with the ball”. Besides, the “Lions Making All Your Wishes Come True” installation at the atrium of the mall features three specially-made giant drums, implying that if the drums were banged, everything would change from old to new and all your wishes may come true. During the Spring Festival, Westgate Mall will also hold several special activities of Dance Lions Celebrating the Spring Festival and invite Ha Kwok Cheung Dragon & Lion Dance Hong Kong to give brilliant performances.
Lion Dance, dating back to Han Dynasty with a history of nearly 2 thousand years, is a kind of synthetic art covering wushu, dance and drum-banging. In 2006, it was officially selected into the Directory of First Batch of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage. Guangzhou Lion Dance is the most representative branch. The Dance Lions, designed by using the Chinese traditional opera facial designs for reference, are fierce and august in modeling, exaggerated in appearance and beautiful in color. Cai-qing is the most important part of lion dance performance. It means presenting lions’ brave and fierce expressions and spiritual strengths through a series of highly difficult performances.