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Chinese Dances: Lion Dance

The Chinese lion dance has its origin during the Ch'in and Han dynasty in the third century BC. The lion dance is performed on New Year and other cultural festivals in china. It is also performed on the occasions like opening of new restaurants and in weddings ceremonies. It has a deep relation with the Chinese cultural traditions. The dance form is an expression of joy and happiness.

The lion dance originated in the Han Dynasty (205 BC to 220 AD) and reached to its peak during the Tang Dynasty (716-907 AD). The Lion dance is a traditional sport activity and a folk art that imitates the

movement of lion. It is performed in religious festivals and it has close similarities with the dragon dance. The dance has existed in the Chinese culture for more than a thousand years. It has an important role in the Chinese folklore. Lions are considered as a divine animal of nobility and dignity. It is a symbol of strength, wisdom and courage in Chinese culture.

The Lion is regarded as a creature representing good omen. The Lion dance plays a significant role on all cultural festival in china. It is a sign of auspicious in Chinese culture. The Dance is also known as "Playing Lion". It has a close relation with the martial arts Kung fu and the dancers are generally the members of the kung fu players. The dance is often seen in festive celebrations and contributes a great part in the rich culture of china.

Two dancers perform the Dance. One dancer takes control of the head and the other is engaged in the movement of the body and tail. The head mask is made up of light materials like paper- Mache and bamboo. The head is colored with different color to display different characters. The body is created by using cloths that is attached to the head. The dance movement of the animal is accompanied by music produced by a large drum, Cymbals and a gong. A little, Buddha teasing it with a fan or a gaint ball adds the amusement of the dance. The dancer moves the mouth, eyes and ears of the lion to express the mood.

The lion dance has two different types- northern and southern lion dance. The dance differs in the style and the appearance of the lion. However, the dance is full of color and it is full of mystery and intriguing stories. The northern dance is performed as a part of entertainment during the cultural festival. The color is usually orange, red and yellow with shaggy appearance. Southern dance is performed to cast off the evils spirits and to bring luck and fortune. It displays a wide variety of color with distinctive head, large eyes, and mirror on forehead with a single horn at the centre of the head. The northern dance is popular in the northern part of china while the southern part is popular in south china, especially in the province of Guangdong.

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