Chinese Lion Dancepage 2 / 4
Two Styles of Lion Dance: Northern and Southern
The two styles of lion dances differ not only in the type of costumes worn by the lion dancers but also in the types of movements performed. In the northern style, the lions have shaggy orange and yellow fur and a long mane. Their movements are very life-like, oftentimes using their legs to prance dramatically. In the northern style of dance, the lions typically appear in family pairs: two adult lions and two young lions. Lion dancers are most often performed by students of kung fu. So, the dances can also be very acrobatic including stunts like the lions balancing on balls, lifts, and leaping through the air requiring the dancers to be very fit and agile.
Lion Dance: Northern Style
The Southern style costumes feature a lion that more closely resembles Nian, the fierce horned monster that inspired many Chinese New Year traditions The Southern Lion's head is shaped more like a dragon and has a drape. It can have two or four legs. When performing, the Southern Lion thrusts its head to the sound of drums, gongs and cymbals. The Lion Dancers must precisely coordinate their movements with those of the instruments. The most commonly used colors for lion dance costumes are red for bravery, green for friendship and goodwill and gold for a lively, dynamic spirit.