Every Saturday morning, 16-year-old Raynard Low, leaves his home in Pasir Ris for his favourite CCA lesson at Metta School: Lion Dance. No one would have expected the small built boy to be deft at handling the heavy lion’s head as he practises his nimble footwork during lessons. While it may appear to be nothing unique about Raynard’s ability, much effort must be lauded for Raynard who has intellectual disability.
Raynard is among the Metta School students with special needs who are in the 16-member Lion Dance troupe from Metta School. Raynard joined the troupe when he was 13. Like his fellow team mates, Raynard look forward to every Lion Dance session held once a week at Metta School.
The youngest member in the Lion Dance troupe is only 11, with the oldest member at 24 years old. All of the members from the troupe have no experience to the traditional Chinese dance. New members are required to start by learning to sync the clashing tones of the cymbals before they proceed to handle the drumming. A minimum of four sessions would suffice for a student to pick up the basics of the Lion Dance percussions. To master the coordination of footwork and dance movements under the Lion costume takes a full year of diligent practice.
On 2 December 2017, the troupe paid a learning visit to Lok Sin Tong Leung Kau Kui (LST LKK) Primary School in Hong Kong for an exchange programme to understand the history of the Lion Dance and its culture. The 8-day trip brought 16 students and 6 staff to two schools in Hong Kong which also incorporates Lion Dance in their curriculum. It was an enriching experience for all as Metta School Lion Dance troupe performed the traditional dance alongside their hosts in a friendly performance that showcase the dance styles and techniques of each troupe. The eye-opening learning trip also helped to build a strong team rapport among the students, who only get the chance to interact with their fellow team members once a week during their Saturday training.
Apart from event performances, the troupe also receives recognition from Metta’s donors and supporters with several corporate partners engaging their performing service for their annual Lunar New Year events as a symbolism of ushering in good luck and prosperity.
History of Metta School Lion Dance Troupe
Since its establishment in 2003, Metta School Lion Dance troupe, comprising both the alumni and new members has grown in skill and popularity.
The troupe practices under the supervision and guidance of a dedicated instructor. Students also play their part to impart the fundamentals of this performing skill. It is heartwarming to note that Lion Dance also attract students from diverse ethnic groups.
The students are encouraged to work together to improve their moves and coordination skills.
As the activity emphasizes on cooperation and patience, the CCA aims to inculcate the importance of unity, team work and self-discipline among its troupe members.
Metta Newsletter Vol. 22 Issue 1
Jan – Feb 2018