The lion dance, also called dance lion, in country people call it playing lion light. It is a great favourite action of China, it has a broad and deeply crowd foundation. Both city and country have the custom of dance lion, in spite of in the Spring Festival and the importance feast, you can see the action of dance lion everywhere.
Dancing lion is an action which is well versed in both polite letters and martial arts. A lion dance team is often consist of fifteen persons. One of team acts the laugh monk, one acts SunWukong, two persons act a lion, four or five person to make up of the band of percussion. The mask of lion head, laugh monk and SunWukong, are made by folk handicraftsman, the mantle of lion is made of colorized lists. The laugh monk step at a stride or little to declare his views with fan in hand, his pose is boorish,humour and strengthen. He keeps the aptotic expression--joyful, but he could express his happy anger sorriness by his gesture and pose. SunWukong is smart, bright, and could perform kongfu, he often performs the action of palying with the lion, amusing the laugh monk, and enlarging the performing field, he plays the part of the important effect in the program of dismantling the estrade. The two men act lion, one throw about the lion head, the other throw about the lion body, they have a tacit when they playing, and their perform is living .They often imitate the habit of lion, such as licking hair, shaking hair, kicking the feet, wallowing and so on. The band of percussion stand beside the lion and accompany and add to the fun for the entered actors.
The action of lion dance has a long history, it came into being in Han Dynasty, and became famous in Tang Dynasty. TangTaizong—LiShimin (the second emperor of Tang Tang Dynasty) accepted the experience of the lion dance from Han Dynasty, and created “the five direction lion dance”,, and “the break battle array dance” which formed the earliest lion array dance with Wende dance. Up to Qing Dynasty, it add to the “paly treasure” “rolling the embroidered ball” which developed the art of lion dance, widen the content and form, formed the lion array dance finally, and made the lion dance have more art character and enjoy character.
The lion array dance need to set up array, put array and break array. The lion array dance could be divided four genus on the perform content and form. They are “acrobatics genus”, such as “get water from the high well” “swan incubate” etc, which is very wonderful; “story genus”, it very humorous, such as “King Tang call the flowers”; “pray genus”, it cater to the mass psychology, such as: “good weather for the crops”, “the asleep lion wake suddenly” and “the play and art genus” which include “play chess”, “lay out word” and so on. The lion array dance could be divided many genus on prop, such as “wooden stools array” “tables array” “wooden stools, tables chairs compositive array” and so on.
The props for array are very simple, most of them are commodities of people, people could array the lion array on anywhere, such as the yard of farmhouse, the hall of a hill stockaded village, the square of a town etc.
Most lion array dance were teached personal example as well as verbal instruction.by old folk actor, the other subsection were created by crowd in the art practice, which were handed down after incessant processing till it was recognized. According to the introduction of old folk actor, there are 108 kinds lion array dance handed down from the past dynasties.
There is a long time inherit, develop and evolvement, before lion dance to lion array dance, it is a nice flower of folk art which irrigated by common people with their painstaking effort, it is a twinkling pearl in the folk art mine of our country.