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Wah Lum Kung Fu of Tampa

Lion Dance



The Wah Lum Kung Fu of Tampa Lion Dance Performance Team has been long recognized as a leader in promoting this ancient Chinese art throughout the west coast of Florida.

Our team has performed throughout the area at special functions for organizations such as:

* NASA - Cape Canaveral, FL

* Splendid China of Orlando

* Busch Gardens - Tampa, FL

 *UKFFNA International Kung Fu Tournaments opening ceremonies.

* International Kung Fu School Grand Openings.

* Europa Cruise Lines - St. PetersburgFt. Meyers, FL

* USF (University of South Florida) -   Tampa, FL

* FSU (Florida State University) – Tallahassee, FL

* John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota, FL

* SACA (Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans) - Tampa, FL

* Grand Championships & Festival Tournament - Phoenix, AZ

* Seminole Hard Rock Casino – Tampa, FL

* Tampa General Hospital – Tampa, FL

 * Lowery Park Zoo – Tampa, FL

* Eckerd College - St. Petersburg, FL.





Splendid China, Orlando







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Tampa Grand Opening




    Ringling Museum, Sarasota Florida   

Wah Lum of Tampa Lion Dance, Dragon & Kung Fu Performance Team



What is Lion Dance?

Ancient murals and engravings depicting the lion dance have been found dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 221 AD). Lions are not naturally indigenous to China, so the dance was probably developed through foreign influence. China had commercial ties with Persia via the "Silk Road", and Persian envoys brought lions as gifts to the emperor. Artisans created facsimiles of the animals using materials such as bamboo and paper, and the dance eventually became a traditional part of Chinese culture. Legend has it that the lion was made to drive off a monster which was raiding Chinese villages. Ever since, the lion has been considered a good omen and takes part in happy occasions in Chinese communities around the world.

The lion is believed to scare away evil spirits and assure good luck. All festive events therefore begin with a lion dance performed to the accompaniment of musicians playing the drum, gongs and cymbals. Two dancers play the lion and cooperate to show it sleeping, waking, scratching, stretching, eating, running, jumping and playing ball. The lion may also perform special tricks such as getting laycee (lucky money) or walking on top of four poles arranged in a circle. A teaser (happy Buddha) plays with the lion and takes it through its tricks. A lion is traditionally considered the "soul" of a kung fu school. It demonstrates the skill and prowess of its school as it roams the streets.

Northern and Southern lions differ somewhat in their attire and behavior. Both lions wear painted lion heads made of paper mache. However, the Northern lion is made of golden colored or red long-haired skins, covering the two dancers completely. It resembles a lion in appearance, and it moves in imitation of the animal itself. The Southern lion accentuates the features of the head and has a long colorfully painted tail that drapes over the dancers. There are three colors of lion heads, which denote three generals from the Three Kingdoms period (222 - 265 AD). A lion exhibits the personality traits of the general who is represented by the color of its head. The yellow lion, also known as the "auspicious lion," is like Liu Pei. It possesses a sincere nature and revered status in the lion hierarchy. The red lion is also known as the "awakening lion," and is like Kwan Yu, who was a master of both the sword and the pen. Resembling General Kwan, it has a dignified manner. The black lion, also called the "daring lion," is like Chang Fei, who had a brave heart and a love for battle. The Southern lion’s movements emphasize the skill and gracefulness of Kung Fu.

The belief carries on today, with the Lion Dancing still the most important ceremony for the New Year and the grand opening of Chinese businesses. Lion Dancing is an art of its own and is one of the most important training and culture aspects of Chinese martial arts. A strong Lion Dance team is a must for all traditional Kung Fu schools.