Tens of thousands of Taiwanese audience cheered and applauded for glittering sparks and a jubilant dance as a golden dragon flew in the fire with bare-chested men dancing at the main site of the Nantou lantern show in Taiwan on the 13th day of the first lunar month.
This was this year’s debut of Chongqing Tongliang’s fire dragon dance in Nantou County. At the invitation of Taiwan’s Nantou County and Changhua County, Chongqing Tongliang will stage five performances in Nantou and two in Changhua to celebrate the upcoming Lantern Festival and share the joy of the Chinese New Year, according to the Publicity Department of Tongliang District of Chongqing City.
At Sunday night’s performance, eight fire-burning stoves were formed in a circle, and 16 bare-chested men sprinkled the special iron water into the air. The iron water molten by the heat of over 1,200 degrees Celsius flew into the sky, like a fairy scattering flowers. Held by other 20 shirtless men, two golden dragons with their bodies firing fireworks, flew up and down and shuttle back and forth in the sea of fire. Flame sparks and flashes illuminated the night sky of Nantou.
Li Shimin, a 68-year-old inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage Tongliang fire dragon dance, said that this was his third time to perform in Taiwan and he was excited at Taiwan compatriots’ enthusiasm. “I want to show the precious heritage left by the ancestors to Taiwan compatriots in an authentic manner. It will carry forward our dragon culture and deepen the friendship of the people on both sides of the strait,” Li added.
All the props and equipment including two fire dragons, eight stoves, and utensils such as pliers, coal and bamboo spoons were airlifted from Chongqing to Taiwan in order to present the original fire dragon performance to local people. The yellow mud used for stoves is also produced locally by Tongliang.
Tongliang fire dragon dance started to perform in Taiwan in 2017 during the Lantern Festival, which has been very popular among local people. Six performances of Tongliang fire dragon dance was staged in Taiwan during last year’s Lantern Festival, attracting more than 1.5 million audience.
Different from previous years, this year’s fire dragon performance has been upgraded. The new performance not only sees its time extended from 9 minutes to 15 minutes, but also has the flag performance and the torch performance added to make the whole show more enjoyable.
Chongqing Tongliang fire dragon dance has a long history and is one of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage masterpieces. The fire dragon uses molten iron water for sparks, supplemented by different fire at the mouth, the ridge, the belly, the field, etc., forming a spectacular three-dimensional fire array during the dance.
SOURCE: The Publicity Department of Tongliang District of Chongqing City