Snapshots

The Lion Dance

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Photo - Phyo Thiha

It is no doubt lion dances come to mind once you think of Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year Festival that is held yearly by the Chinese community in Myanmar and especially in the Chinatown area of downtown Yangon. It has been getting bigger and busier year by year has become more interesting.

The Chinese perform this dance at Chinese traditional New Year festivals and auspicious occasions as well. Lately it has been seen that the dance is performed at ceremonies like a company’s launching event – especially if it is a Chinese company – as a sign of auspiciousness. The performance is said to bring good luck and fortune in business and to ward off dangers.

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There are two forms of this kind of dance – one is done on the ground and the other on iron poles. The ground dance is just a display dance but the dance on iron poles is a risky performance. The dancing styles in these forms are different.

As in other regions of the world, the dancing teams in Myanmar have been performing a sport-style lion dance during the Chinese New Year festivals but they have also been participating in local and international competitions.

As the lion dance has turned into a sport-style competition, young Myanmar people are seen in the dancing teams together with the Chinese.

They are trained by coaches who know the sport well.

Every Chinese New Year, the costume design for the lion dance team changes. There is a pair of lions named Gold and Silver in every Chinese lion dance performance and even three in some performances. 

There are around 40 lion dance teams in Yangon who dance and perform through the Chinese New Year in the hope of clearing away danger and to entertain the audience as well.


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Theingi Htun is a journalist who worked for two years at Yangon Times Journal and Flower News. She also worked for two years at Democracy Today News as Senior Journalist. She wrote many articles about culture, the travel sector and lifestyle stories too. Now she is working at My Magical Myanmar as a travel writer and social media executive."

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