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The Dragon Dance is a Chinese dance usually performed during the Chinese New Year to bring in good luck and prosperity. The dragons used in these dances are usually made up of sections of bamboo frames draped with silk. Performers are martial artists or acrobats who move their bodies rhythmically and synchronise their steps so that the dragon appears to move gracefully.
The dance had its beginnings in China and was popularized in the Tang dynasty. The dragon is regarded as a symbol of power and royalty by the Chinese and the dragon dance evolved from this association.
The length and size of the dragon can vary but is usually seven to thirteen sections long. The dragon could come in various colors, each with a symbolic meaning. Green is usually the predominant color of the dragon to symbolize a lush harvest. Other colours present include yellow representing the solemnity of an empire, mixture of gold and silver indicating prosperity and red representing excitement and animation.
Some patterns for the dragon dance are Cloud Cave, Whirlpool, Tai Chi, Dragon Vomiting The Pearl and Dragon Encircling The Pillar. The movement of dragon chasing the pearl signifies the pursuit of wisdom. In Singapore, a dragon 130 m long was created by the Singapore Dragon and Lion Dance Athletic Association and recorded in the Guinness Book of Records in 1988.
Lip, E. (1988). Notes on things Chinese. Singapore: G. Brash.
(Call no.: RSING 390.0951 LIP)
Quiet spot in Changi's perfect for this dragon. (2001, January 24). The Straits Times, Prime News, p. 4.
Dragon Dance. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2002, from www.visitsarawak.com/wushu/dragon.html
The information in this article is valid as at 2002 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.