The Monk Took the Lion Around the Castle
February 20, 2024 8:12 AM   Subscribe

To Become A Lion is a short, colorful video on the art and origin of Lion Dancing. (The pole jumps are nuts and for some it might be the first time you've seen a funeral lion). posted by storybored (9 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Here's Jackie Chan's opening Lion Dance fight sequence from The Young Master (1980) - Chan's first film for Raymond Chow & Golden Harvest.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:19 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]

It's hard to really appreciate this stuff until you see it live and up close, but - like a lot of the world's more aerobatic dancers, I guess - these guys are both incredibly graceful and strong as hell. There's a moment at 1:50 in that 14th Genting link where the second man flips a guy down below the platform levels, where there's nowhere to stand, and just reels him back in, nearly straight-armed, for the next move? Damn.
posted by mhoye at 9:09 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]

It's amazing to me how, when they don the costume and the lion blinks its eyes and waggles its ears, it really does seem to come alive. In the second link, there's a bit at 1:15 where the back end is waggling its booty to the beat that is just charming.
posted by The otter lady at 10:05 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]

Love these, thank you for posting!

I took my 3 year old with me to see a lion dance this year and listening to her talk about it has been fascinating, she assigned all the different color lions different personalities and traits. They really do feel alive.
posted by lepus at 1:17 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately I can't watch the video without a subscription, but the SF Chronicle just had a nice article on one of the local lion dance teams, Lion Dance ME. Here's their performance at the 14th Genting World Championships, where they won the Lion Dance west award.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:48 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]

My bad, here is the gift link to the video.
posted by storybored at 7:12 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]

I feel dumb for admitting this, because it should have been obvious, but until I watched your first link, I never realized the astonishing athleticism involved in lion dancing. The shots of the dancers doing their moves without their costumes were eye-opening for me.

Like mhoye says, the combination of grace and strength is just breathtaking.
posted by yankeefog at 3:02 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

The Randomlet has been performing with a local youth lion dance troupe for five years now, and OP's first link was circulated on the parent group chat.

Watching the kids put together their performances has always been a treat to watch. One of the current teens, in particular, has been working on his head movements and personality for a couple years - such fun to see how far he's gotten.
posted by Quasirandom at 2:13 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

oneirodynia, I finally watched the World Championships video you shared, and HOLY WHAT THAT TEAM
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 12:15 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

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