OVER RM88,000 worth of prizes were given away to winners at the grand final of the 11th Genting International World Lion Dance Championship at Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands, recently.
The mighty Kun Seng Lion and Lion Dance Association from Muar, Johor grabbed the top prize taking home the championship for the 10th time with a score of 9.27.
The team walked away with RM30,000, a trophy and medals.
Its coach Tang Puay Sen said it took more than two months to train his team for this year’s competition and face the competitors, as in the previous year, they came in second.
“I am glad we succeeded. This is because we went through some challenges during the performance. During rehearsal, we managed to practise 30 movements. However, throughout the performance they only performed 21 movements compared to our competitor who did 24 movements,” Tang explained.
Tang attributed the lions’ expressions as the criteria that earned them top marks in the competition.
“Expression must go along with the rhythmic beat of the drums to make the lion dance alive.
“Moreover, the teamwork from the dancers also plays an important role,” he said.
The team which has established its name since 1988 has coveted 56 championship titles, internationally, and 65 national lion dance competitions titles.
The prestigious event attracted 32 lion dance teams, from all over the world, with their jaw-dropping stunts and athletic skills.
However, only 11 selected teams qualified for the grand final.
The 11 teams were from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Myanmar.
The first runner-up Pertubuhan Tarian Singa dan Naga Hong Teik from Alor Setar, Kedah received RM18,000 while the second runner up Barongsai Perkumpulan Guang Zhao, Indonesia bagged RM9,000 with a score of 9.24 and 9.06, respectively.
Eight other teams won consolation prizes worth RM3,000 each.
Among the special guests at the event was Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan.
“Lion dancers not only need the strength and stamina of a sportsman, but they also need to ensure the lion’s costumes are traditionally intriguing especially the lion’s head, which is considered as a heavy burden to hold aloft while moving vigorously,” he said.
He also added that the Youth and Sports ministry was fully supportive of the lion dance performance which has instilled values of discipline and teamwork to create highly motivated and focused individuals.
“As time goes by, the lion dance performance has transformed into a widely accepted sporting event. It has also preserved the Chinese cultural heritage,” he added.
The three day event from April 18 to 20, organised by Selangor & Federal Territory & Lion Dance Association, has wowed audience with its spectacular acrobatic movements from the participating lion dancers.