Lion dance troupes in Singapore, while holding fast to traditional techniques, are open to making changes and innovations to keep up with the times. For instance, Chin Woo Athletic Association has made improvements to the design of the lion costumes to ease dancers’ movements. They also reduced repetitive actions and performed shortened routines of seven minutes to hold the audience’s interest. These days, the use of video technology to complement the traditional methods of demonstration is also common. Lion dance troupes also use social media, websites, blogs, and Facebook to broadcast their activities to the community. There are also various lion dance competitions in Singapore that continue to attract the participation of many different troupes.
However, there are several challenges faced by lion dance troupes in the community today. For instance, it is hard to get locally-designed lion heads and costumes, with Mr Henry Ng being one of the last few remaining lion dance costume makers in Singapore. Also, some members of the public are less tolerant towards the loud sounds coming from lion dances during practices and performances, says Mr Lim.
Nevertheless, the complexity of the skills and freedom of expression are factors that prove to be attractive to youth. In Singapore, lion dance troupes even have young Indian and Malay members now. The continuation of such trends may lead to greater ethnic diversity in lion dance performances in the future.