For the Record – All about lion dance

Jenny Cameron – February 5, 2019

Storytelling is a huge part in lion dance – often the lion is trying to get lettuce. (pixabay)

Lunar New Year kicks off February 5th, 2019 and, this year, it’s time to celebrate the year of the pig.

Head coach of the Vancity Lion Dance team, Josh Pratt, says lion dance has been a part of Chinese culture for hundreds of year and is a way to tell an open ended story that presents a challenge for the lion. The goal is for the lion to get the red envelope, as well as a head of lettuce that comes with it. They perform at various events, such as, store opening, funerals, Chinese New Year and so much more.

Lion dance became a part of Pratt’s life while he was learning martial arts years ago. He says at least half of his team are made up of martial arts students and the two sports go hand in hand.

It’s a way to not just do a sport and have something productive to do, but also a way to connect with their heritage in some ways and do something cultural.” – Josh Pratt, head coach of Vancity Lion Dance team

Pratt says his team is one of the few lion dance teams in Canada that compete in competitions. As a head coach, he looks to ensure the team is moving in sync, bowing at the beginning and end and loves to look out at the crowds reactions during performances. Although he enjoys marital arts and the physical aspect of lion dance, he says his favourite part is the story telling component.

“It’s not the first thing people find difficult – it’s not till later on when they’re more upper intermediate or advance level where they start to pick up they need to do more to animate the character or give it some personality.” – Josh Pratt, head coach of the Vancity Lion Dance team

If you are interested in what the Vancity team does, take a look at their instagram page.

Take a listen below for the full interview.