This week I met these young lion dancers in Qiantong Ancient Town, in Ningbo, Zhejiang!
The Chinese lion dance is an art form that combines acrobatics, dance, and folk music, and these kids (from 10-13 years old) practice 3x a week after school or on weekends. The boys were really vivacious, friendly, and quite silly, per usual middle school boy behavior.
It was so cool to watch them perform and see how they put together the skills that they’ve learned. Some of these boys have been practicing for more than 2 years, and it was my first time to see lion dancing broken down into basic skills and see how it’s taught.
One of the stars was Zhang Zhenhao, a 13 year old who has been practicing for 2 years. He and his partner, who they called ‘Xiao Bao’ because he was the smallest, demonstrated many of their techniques.
These are some of the skills they demonstrated:
- 单腿 Dān tuǐ (Single Leg)
- 双腿 shuāng tuǐ (Both legs)
- 上头 shàngtou (on top of head)
- 180转圈双腿 zhuànquān shuāng tuǐ (180 turn with both legs)
- 夹腰 jiā yāo (waist band)
- 摇尾巴 yáo wěibā (wagging tail)
I just wanted to share some photos and videos of the experience – enjoy!