Chinese college offers traditional lion and dragon dance courses
Traditional Chinese lion and dragon dance has become popular at Zhejiang University, one of China's top colleges, since it was added into elective sports courses for the first time at the beginning of the new semester.
A total of 170 students, both male and female, from various majors have applied for the course.
Jiang Kai, the sole teacher, said the courses he offers at the college are actually competitive lion and dragon dance, a style which can usually be seen as a professional sports event.
"Compared with traditional folk lion and dragon dance, the competitive style is much more standardized and generally performed indoors. Every movement has strict standards for judging," Jiang added.
In the beginning, Jiang was concerned that not many students would apply for his class. "It is a very traditional sport and not fashionable like tennis and golf, which attract more young people."
His concern came from the current situation of traditional Chinese sports, which require laborious training sessions and thus are less attractive to young people.
"When I first started to study this at Beijing Sports University, there were 30 students in the class, but at graduation, only eight remained," said Jiang. However, the class has exceeded Jiang's expectations.
"The reason I chose the course was because I have been interested in traditional Chinese culture for a long time," said freshman Li Qingyan who attends the class,
"I am now a junior student at college and just want to select some special and fun courses, dragon dance is definitely one," said another student, Xu Jinyan.
Many of his students now have completely thrown themselves into the class, and some even post their daily study on social media.
Early in 2003, a campaign to "bring lion and dragon dance classes to 100 universities" was launched by the Federation of University Sports of China Loong-Lion Dance Branch, in a bid to promote the Chinese traditions in colleges. A total of 92 universities have participated in the program. It is expected that more and more Chinese universities will make the lion and dragon dance classes available to their students.