Lions and dragons spring into action
Crouching tigers and hidden dragons have leaped into action for the International Luminous Dragon Dance and Lion Dance Invitation Tournament 2001.
The tournament was organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Association. It was sponsored by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board.
The tournament, founded in 1992, provides Chinese communities from around the world an opportunity to compete at the traditional Chinese arts.
Seven elite teams of lion dancers entered the final held at the Hong Kong Coliseum. After fierce competition, the Nan Hai Zhong Lian Dragon and Lion Dance Team from China won the championship. The Huang Feihong Lion Dance team from China won first-runner up while the Kong Fu Centre and Nam Wah Pai Kangkar Pulai Jogor from Malaysia took the second runner-up prize.
The winning dragon dancers were Ri Hing Lion Dance Training Centre, from Singapore, and runner-ups were the Yahya Awal Dragon Dance Troupe from Malaysia and Japan Kobe Municipal Hyogo Commercial High School Dragon and Lion Dance Group.
Among the seven finalists, the lion dance team from HKCWC Fung Yiu King Memorial Secondary School were the only group from Hong Kong.
Although they did not win a prize, their performance won loud cheers from the crowd.
Team captain Chor King- man, 16, said lion dancing required good co-operation among team members and long months of rehearsal before the tournament.
Through the tough training, he has learned to concentrate and move in time with the drum beats to operate the lion's head and produce dramatic movements.
'It's a challenging sport and a precious part of Chinese martial arts,' said King-man.
Yong Yll-aak, leader of the Nam Wah Pai Kangkar Pulai Johor team, said: 'Lion and dragon dances are martial arts which require high discipline, fitness and a sense of rhythm. We have to attend training almost every day and do running, sit-ups and all kinds of drills.'
He said the skills needed for lion dancing include strength stamina, flexibility, balance, and the ability to visualise and improvise movements.