Chinese Lion Dance

There’s nothing like stripping percussive performance back to its bear bones, and the Chinese Lion Dance is an excellent example. I was lucky enough to catch this one today (video below) in a little village in the south of England, performed by the Waterside Lion Dance Club, who created a polished, energetic display in the middle of a drab, wet afternoon.

The percussion is traditional – a drum, a gong and a couple of cymbals. It’s simple, repetitive and mesmeric. The last time something as raw as this captured my attention was years ago in Zimbabwe. Lying in a field one afternoon I watched some kids come out of a school nearby with a few oil drums and sticks. Most of them formed up, and spontaneously sprung into action, dancing perfectly in sync to the pounding, impressive rhythm in the background. I wish I’d recorded it – I do have a photo though. I’ll see if I can dig it out.

Anyway, it all serves to remind me that talent is much more important than expensive kit. A well played collection of saucepans is more entertaining than a badly played Tama Imperialstar.

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