Tradition is great, but let’s be honest, you’re probably tired of seeing the same predictable, repetitive lion dance every single year. The Warehouse hears you – this Mid-Autumn Festival, the youth group are revamping the traditional lion dance with hip-hop and breakdancing added to the mix. They'll be tearing it down tonight at the annual Aberdeen Mid-Autumn Lion Dance event.
Taking over the southside, 12 hip-hop dancers aged 10-25 will join a troupe of 50 lion dancers to brave the streets with their b-boy moves. They hope to bring a new flavour to the traditional lion dance while also promoting Chinese culture within their community. Don't expect it the performance to sound different just because it might look it, though – clashing cymbals, banging gongs and pounding drums will all seamlessly harmonise and lay the rhythmic groundwork for The Warehouse's hip-hop dancers to show their stuff.
Why hip-hop though? "We’ve heard about the notion of incorporating hip-hop into the popular South China Martial Arts," explains Leo Ng, a director of the Aberdeen event. "Given The Warehouse's experience in conducting hip-hop-related workshops and events, we thought why not give it a try with lion dance? We'll be integrating elements of breaking into the whole act, so expect a lot of head spinning, air freeze, head set and single hand lifts from our hip-hop dancers. They’ll be dancing alongside the lion dancers, with every movement carefully thought out to synchronise with both the lion and hip-hop dancers."
Being a youth group, most of the performers would have never performed in front of such large crowds. "Most of our dancers are teenagers," Ng tells us. "Even though it’s preferable that most dancers have a wealth of hip-hop experience, it’s not a strict requirement. Because we just want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves. It’s a team effort. Isn’t that the essence of hip hop? To unify people from all ages and backgrounds?"
Stressing the importance of unity, Ng describes how the performance aligns with the core mission and objective of The Warehouse. "Just like how hip-hop unifies people, we want to do the same by providing a second home for youngsters to develop healthily and holistically. We hope to inspire them to broaden their horizons through meaningful and innovative activities. Hopefully, one day, they'll give back to society."
Poignant and bound to be infectious, this revamped lion dance will surely be one of the most exciting Mid-Autumn events around town this year. And yes, it’ll definitely be worth the hype. Corina Chan
Thu 15 Sep, Tsung Man St, Aberdeen Reservoir Road (8.30pm-10pm); Wah Fu Estate to Waterfall Bay (10.15pm-11.30pm). For more information on The Warehouse, head to warehouse.org.hk.