Chinese Dragon Dance

The Chinese Dragon Dance dates back to the Han Dynasty and was created as a way to show respect toward dragons. As you probably already know, the Chinese believe that dragons bring good luck. The characteristics are superior power, fertility, dignity, and wisdom. Similar to the Lion Dance, you will most often see the Chinese Dragon Dance during festive celebrations. During the dance, there is a team of people designated to carry the dragon. Picture for a moment…the image of a Chinese Dragon…lifted high using poles.

It can take up to fifty people to carry the dragon during the Chinese Dragon Dance. The goal of the team is to bring the motionless body of the dragon to life. The team moves in a way that is designed to mirror movements of the river spirit in a rippling, waving manner. Each movement is designed to symbolize traditional, historical roles of dragons, as evidence of their power and dignity. As you can imagine, the dragon dance is center stage during Chinese New Year celebrations that are held in Chinatowns all across the globe.

The dragon being carried during the dance is a long, serpent shaped body attached to poles. It’s assembled by putting a series of hoops on every section. The ornamental head and tail pieces are attached at the ends. In the past, dragons were made from wood with the help of bamboo hoops on the inside and then covered with a rich, vibrant fabric. Nowadays, wood has been replaced by aluminum and plastic. Dragons created for the dance are usually 112 feet long and separated into 9 major sections. That said, the Chinese Dragon Dance is one of the most spectacular dances you will ever see.