2.13.2014

Guide to hiring a Lion Dance 舞狮 @ Singapore



Want to hire lion dancers in Singapore?

CNY may soon be over but this could be a useful guide for 2015 CNY celebration. Lion Dance 舞狮 is a popular sight during CNY. It is normally hired to perform at home during CNY where there are gatherings to liven up the atmosphere. In case you are wondering , the above lion boys do not come with the Lion Dance packages.




Where to find the lion dancers?
There are numerous Lion Dance associations with varying degree of performances. Some lions are decked out in traditional gear with matching pants and shoes, whereas the less established troupes will most likely dance in their Asics or Nike shoes. Some lions even come in LED lightings for a night event. Given the numerous option, the best place to start searching for a credible lion dance is through the Singapore Wushu Dragon and Lion Dance Federation.

Simply check out the participating troupes in the National Lion Dance Championship for the best Lion Dancers in town. There are 2 kinds of categories, the free style and the traditional categories. Free style are more suited for those looking for a modern twist, while traditional would be for those who likes the old style lion dancers.

For our performance, we managed to invite Tian Eng dragon and lion dance center for a show. Tian Eng is the traditional category champion for 2013 National Lion Dance championship.

Northern vs Southern Lion dance
There are also 2 distinct of Lion Dancers , the Northern and the Southern. The lions differ from each other in terms of appearances and performances.

The Northern Lions are more playful in nature. They usually perform in pairs and resemble Fu dogs. They emphasis on acrobatic dance and balancing on giant balls.

The Southern lions has a single horn and emphasis on Wushu movements. Most Lion dancers are skilled Kung fu masters. Accompanied by the vigorous drums, it's performances would be a familiar sight in most corners of Singapore come CNY.

The Performance
Lion dancers
During CNY, the lion dancers will visit houses to perform the tradition custom of "Cai Qing" 採青. The lion dancers will pluck auspicious green vegetables like lettuce hang high up to represent cǎi cái 财. ( plucking fortune) .
採青
The lettuce are usually prepared by the homeowners.


In addition, you can also lay out a plate of oranges, lettuce, Fa Gao( Fortune cake) and other forms of lucky fruits or food for a feast for the Lions.

Do place an Ang pow to reward them for their hard work and for good luck!

If the lions are playful, they will even play with the children.
Playful lions
The lions will eat the "greens" and spit them out for good luck and fortune.
Let's play toss
After the performances, the lions would usually leave a good luck design from the oranges and a lucky number for the audience.
Want to buy 4 D
There after the owners will be presented a lucky scroll
Lucky scroll
How much to hire Lion Dance?
The rates differ from various troupes. A decent clan may charge $168 upwards for one Lion to $788 for a combination of 2 lions and a Dragon dance. These days with intense competition, there are even lion dancers who would do a performance for $50.

However standards do vary, so it is best to engage a reputable troupe if you want quality performance.
Lion boys
Lion dances can be of huge demand especially over CNY, so book early. In case you are interested, the lion boys are available for hire at at auspicious price of $888 a pair. They are undergoing intensive training now and will be ready for 2015 CNY.

One caveat though, don't hang your lettuce too high as they may not be able to reach it.

And the best part about this celebration?
We get to enjoy it with our Great-Grandmothers, the matriarchs of the family!



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