MALAYSIA stamped its class in lion dance, securing three of the four top spots in the 5th International High Pole Lion Dance Invitational Championship on Sunday at Robinson’s Manila.
The Ling Nam Kun Keng Seng Cup went to defending champions Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association Negeri Sembilan after it consistently ranked first in the standings in three days of competition.
Coming in second was Hong Kong Kun Seng Keng while third place went to Negeri Sembilan Gui Qing Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe, another Malaysian contender. Rounding out the Top 4 was Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association Muar, Malaysia.
Vicente Co, president of Ling Nam Athletic Association, told Spin.ph the Malaysians have consistently been the strongest with China a close second. Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and Brunei also sent contingents.
Two teams from the country also took part, with Philippine Ling Nam Kun Seng Keng Dragon and Lion Dance Team A displaying admirable effort in the Final Round.
“We’re a very young team and we plan to continue the development of their skills to improve our performance. We’re very new and we try to learn from what we see,” said Co, who believes exposure in these kinds of events will greatly benefit the team in the long run.
A total of 250 athletes comprising 14 teams from eight countries and territories around Asia participated in the fifth edition of the annual competition. It is the first time the Philippines has hosted the event.
Each team was composed of two members inside an elaborate lion costume while their teammates play traditional Chinese musical instruments.
Dexterity, focus and skill are put on display as the ‘lion’ is brought to ‘life’ while performing a closely coordinated dance-slash-stunt while moving from the top of elevated poles several feet off the ground.
Malaysian coach Lim Wei Kang said “training, training, training” gave them the advantage. For two weeks prior to the competition, his young team of secondary and primary school students devoted themselves to six- to eight-hour practice sessions on a daily basis.
The 2016 championship will be held in Guangzhou, China.