14 troupes leap for the title of lion king

ST VIDEO: ADRIAN LIM
The Jing Ying Tang Dragon & Lion Dance Troupe from Vietnam took home the top prize of $5,000.
The Jing Ying Tang Dragon & Lion Dance Troupe from Vietnam took home the top prize of $5,000.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

With deft agility, the "lions" leapt, danced and balanced on poles - as high as 2.5m from the ground - to the rhythm of drums, cymbals and gongs.

But the acrobatic stunts performed yesterday at a carpark in Banda Street were no circus animal act.

Instead, they were a human display of strength, courage and grace.

The 10th International Lion Dance Competition held over the weekend saw 14 troupes from nine territories vying for top honours.

It attracted audiences of up to a thousand each night.

The top prize of $5,000 went to the Jing Ying Tang Dragon & Lion Dance Troupe from Vietnam.

The 10th International Lion Dance Competition held over the weekend saw 14 troupes from nine territories vying for top honours. It attracted audiences of up to a thousand each night.

The annual event is organised by the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens' Consultative Committee, as part of Chinese New Year festivities.

Jalan Besar GRC Member of Parliament Lily Neo was the guest of honour at the competition.

Lion dance is a traditional art form which celebrates prosperity and good fortune in homes and businesses. It requires keen coordination between the "lion head" and "lion tail" dancers.

In competitions, lion dancers balance and pull off acrobatic feats on a series of 21 poles, which range in height from 1.2m to 2.5m.

Mr Willis Koh, 29, who is from Australia's Jin Wu Koon Dragon & Lion Dance Association and has been a "lion tail" for seven years, said: "It takes a lot of guts, determination and perseverance."

In the audience yesterday was engineer Cheang Boon Keong, 44.

He said: "It's my second time here. The performances were even better than the previous night's, as the troupes seem to have got used to the venue and are putting on their best show."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2017, with the headline '14 troupes leap for the title of lion king'. Print Edition | Subscribe