Introduction to Chinese Lion Dance Art and Culture

The ancient art of Chinese Lion Dance has survived through many generations, evolving from a simple ritual used to chase away evil spirits and bring good fortune, to an elaborate display of art, culture and acrobatics in a sport now seen around the world.

Through the years, the lion dance has undergone many changes and developments.  Traditional lion dancing has now evolved into the new sport of ‘Jong’ (pole) jumping, where performers use the jong and props such as wire and poles to represent walking on bridges and hills.  The dance requires agility, flexibility, fitness, strength and balance.

The goal of a jong routine is to tell the story of the lion climbing up a mountain searching for the flower of immortality.  Upon reaching the flower, the lion eats it, but soon feels remorseful and spits it out.  The dispersal of the greens symbolizes: a cure for sickness, blessing marriages, and guard against misfortune.  The lion dance routine may also tell many other stories and is expressed through the props and scene presented in a performance.

The best way to understand the culture is to experience a show in person!