Dragon dance (Chinese: 舞龍; pinyin: wǔ lóng) is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture. Like the lion dance it is most often seen in festive celebrations.
A team of dancers carry an image of the Chinese dragon on poles. The head is lifted, dipped, thrust, and swept. The dancers caring the body must follow the head and be continually moving in order to make the dragon appear alive. The head can contain animated features controlled by a dancer and is sometimes rigged to belch smoke.
The dance team mimics the supposed movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner. The dragon's fabric and bamboo body can be tens of meters long.
The dragon dance is a highlight of Chinese New Year celebrations held worldwide in "Chinatowns" around the world. Toronto being no exception. The costumes used in these celebrations are usually made in specialty craft shops in rural China and imported at considerable expense using funds raised through subscriptions and pledges by members of local cultural and business societies.
Dragon dance is prominently featured in the Cirque du Soleil show Dralion.
Singaporean composer Leong Yoon Pin has composed a song, eponymously named "Dragon Dance", which expresses the vibrancy and colour of a Dragon dance performance.
What's the difference between the Dragon Dance and the Lion Dance?
When most people watch a lion dance, they typically think that they are looking at a dragon dance. A dragon dance is performed with many performers and is used for different symbolic and festive reasons. The lion dance is performed by two performers per lion and is thought to bring good luck to weddings and business. For more information on the lion dance, please see our Lion Dance section.
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