Lion Dances are ubiquitous in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year and yet for tourists and newcomers, they continue to be a shock to the senses. The purpose of these dances are to ward off bad spirits, therefore they are purposely loud and aggressive. The drumming and pounding feet combined with finale of throwing lettuce all over is enough to shock anyone. Even after watching Hong Kong set the Guinness World Record for Largest Lion Dance in 2012, I still am not immune to surprise. The worst was the time, lettuce was thrown all over my apartment when I was silly enough to order a private performance for guests. After that, I decided I would far prefer watch them in public venues, ideally open air public venues.
All of that said I never miss an opportunity to see a Lion Dance, they are an art form all their own. Times Square is currently having an exhibit titled the “Legend of Lion Dance.” There is a standing exhibition, performances and Lion Head making classes and demonstrations. All together this provides for a more thorough understanding of the art and history of a lion dance.
The exhibition focuses on the history of the art form of the Lion Dance since the 1950’s until now. Displayed are 25 Lion Heads, Drums and a short film all explaining the Lion Dance’s evolution in Hong Kong. There is information on the sewing masters of Hong Kong, the ways the dyes were originally created and the intricate needlework required creating the lion head.
The performances of the Lion Dance in the open plaza put the exhibition into action. There are two dates remaining, February 28 and March 1, at 2,4 and 6pm.
There are also Lion Head sewing and beading demonstration and workshops by a master needle worker. on February 28 and March 1 at both 3 and 5pm.
Details: Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Living Room Museum, Daily, through March 5, 10am until 10pm.