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Monday, September 1, 2008

The Lion King – not the Disney version

Filed under: cultural events, singapore — Shirley @ 10:19 pm

This past weekend kicked off the lunar Mid-Autumn Festival. Local schools have the week off from classes. All around the Island were lion dance competitions and the eight finalists will be here vying for the trophy and bragging rights as “The Lion King”.


Ngee Ann City mall’s Civic Center plaza set up a stage and seating for the guests of honor and judges. Also set up is a ring of seven floor judges. There is even seating for spectators, so get there early! You might consider a picnic dinner in order to get a good seat.

It never hurts to leave some offerings to the lion guards overlooking the competition!

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This boy’s drum corps started off the festivities with their fantastic drumming.


There were four lions in tonight’s competition. The lion consist the two dancers (head and tail), the music is provided by a drummer, 4 cymbalists, and a gong player. The gong player, (partially hidden on the left) seemed to always be the youngest (and cutest) on the team.


Then there is a whole troop of assistants that set up the poles, which are wheeled in in sections and secured. They have 15 minutes to set up the “stage”. On these poles is where the lion performs his dance. (Note: the pictures you’ll see are not of only one team.) The poles are covered with fabric/material and the base is covered and surrounded with flowers. One part of the dance the lion eats a flower.


Each lion has 10 minutes to perform and is trying to attain the perfect score of 10.  Some of the elements the judges are looking for in the scoring is how well the lion dancers move as one, acrobatic ability, dance, technique, keeping in time with the music; and the playful animation of the lion.

Please bear with me, this was held in the evening and, although we had pretty good seats, unfortunately we were looking into the lights. And these lions move fast!

Here is the lion getting ready to make his leap onto the lowest of the poles to start his dance.


The front of the lion is up and . . .


. . . and the lion’s rear is not only up on the pole but the he’s rearing up on his hind legs (the “head” guy is standing on the thighs of the “rear”)!


He’s now coming off and leaping forward to the next set of poles . . .


They dance back and forth between the poles twirling and jumping;


— and even perform together as one on just one pole. He’s not falling off, he’s actually dangling his “hind” part.


These lion dancers are athletic and strong. Not only do they have to have great balance, but must perform in unison while carrying the lion costume and lending life and animation to the lion himself. One of the teams didn’t make it for scoring after falling off – twice. We, and the floor judges gave the last team the highest numbers – 9’s but the technical judges deducted some points and they ended up in second place. We think it was one of the props that did not work properly and was abandoned at the start. I thought they should have gotten some extra points for having the most adorable gong player!


Good thing we went last night – it’s pouring out right now and I think it’s going to be a while before it stops.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Shirley @ 3:39 pm

Sorry I’ve been stuck on the last posting for such a while. Things were a bit slow around here, but I’ve got a new post in the works so come back and visit in a day or so. Also we have a trip coming up in about a week and half! See you soon 🙂

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