The lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is performed on auspicious such as weddings, new store openings and various festivals and celebrations. The lion, a symbol or power, wisdom and good fortune, chases away evil spirits and brings happiness, longevity, and good luck. The lion dance is also performed at many business locations during the Chinese New Year’s celebration for the lion brings prosperity and good luck to the business for the upcoming year.
Performed in a lion costume, accompanied by the music of beating drums, clashing cymbals, and resounding gongs, lion dances imitate a lion’s various movements or demonstrate martial arts agility, depending on the style.
In many countries in South East Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei & Thailand performed lion dance during funerals as part of their custom just to celebrate the life of the deceased however the lion must be traditional funeral colour in just black and white.
The Chung Wah Lion Dance Troupe has a relatively short history. The troupe came together in Perth during the late 1960s by a group of overseas engineering students from Christmas Island with past Lion Dance experience. They got together and performed at restaurants, private functions, parties and cultural shows. They soon became known as the WA Lion Dance Troupe in the early 1970s.
There are two distinct styles of Lion Dance, Fuk Shan and Hok Shan. The pioneers of this troupe created their own unique style of lion dance incorporating both the Fuk Shan and the Hok Shan styles to have the better of both styles.
The troupe soon faced problems with lack of new members, but luckily during this time, the Chung Wah Association indicated its interest in including Lion Dance as one of its activities. It was due to this that the Chung Wah Association Lion Dance Troupe was formed in 1984. With the sponsorship and support of the Association new lion costumes and equipment was purchased and the troupe has been kept active with performances during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
In October 1985, a children lion dance troupe was formed in conjunction with the Chung Wah Chinese School. This new young troupe made its debut at the 75th Anniversary Celebration Festival.
In 1988, Simon Lee donated a great green dragon that resulted in the birth of the Chung Wah Lion and Dragon Dance troupe. Until then Chung Wah Lion Dance Troupe had solely been a Lion Dance troupe. We received our first lessons in performing the dragon by Simon Lee as he was a dragon dancer in his youth and had been a strong supporter of the troupe ever since.
The difference between Chung Wah Association Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe and other troupes is that we do not have a Si Fu and we do not practice Kung Fu or Wushu. Everyone has an equal say in all and everyone can have a chance to learn Lion Dance regardless of whether they have a martial arts background.
Our troupe greatest achievements are internationally recognized. Being amongst the first of many troupes around the world to be able to fly three meters on the props and do a 180 degree jump on the tightropes. In 1988, Chung Wah Association Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe was invited to their first international competition in Malaysia, led by David Chew. The competition opened our eyes to what other lion dance troupe were training up for and the standards to be achieved. In 1994, we competed in Malaysia, Genting Highlands, and was ranked 7th in the world. In 1995 we competed in Hong Kong and was ranked 5th in the world and in 1996 in Malaysia we were seeded 5th out of the 28 competing teams.
Currently we are still looking for fresh members to join us so if you think you have the passion to learn and be part of the team contact me Stephen Kum on 0416 921 422 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. No age limit and we encouraged female to join as well. We have 2 training session, every Friday from 6.30pm until 9pm in Balcatta and every Sunday from 2pm until 5pm in Northbridge James Street.