Teaching Lion Dance Traditions at TIS
By Music and Movement Specialist Susan Kennedy
I spent the week of December 3-7 at The International School (TIS) in Portland, OR, as a guest artist, sharing CAIS’s school tradition of lion dancing for special events. The International School includes Japanese, Spanish, and Mandarin bilingual tracks, and all 58 students in the fifth grade learned the drumming, movement with the lions, and ribbon dancing.
After presenting an assembly for parents and older students which included an Eye Dotting ceremony for the lions, the students gave additional short lion dances around the school, As per the practice developed at CAIS, students rotated parts which allowed them to have turns as musicians, lions, and in the Monkey King and Buddha roles. TIS music teacher Peter Musselman and his PE and Art teacher colleagues participated in the residency, helping students work on lifts and rolls and creating an art project making red envelopes with good luck greetings in all three languages. One of the elders who carried out the eye dotting was YuYen Lee, former TIS Mandarin teacher and aunt of CAIS Lower School Chinese teacher Teresa Shyu (shown in the far right of the photo).