San Francisco’s Kei Lun Lion Dancers and their director Corey Chan are dedicated to telling stories that are thousands of years old. Though traditional dance, music, costume-making, and story translation, they hope to help preserve and pass on these ancient stories by performing them for younger generations. From KQED Arts:
In the traditional lion dance, props are used that represent different meanings. For example lettuce and tangerines, which are often hung for lion dancers to pluck (along with cash), represent prosperity; tangerines with stems represent the unity of the family. The props help tell the tale and present a puzzle the lion must solve for the dance to be successful. “The audience struggles with the lion,” says Chan. “Sometimes the lion looks so frustrated because it can’t do what it wants to do.” But his triumph, when it comes, is all the sweeter for the obstacles…
Though the dragon dance is more festive and less layered in meaning than the lion dance, the dragon has great significance in Chinese culture as well. “The dragon is the ultimate symbol of the Chinese people, who call themselves the descendants of the dragon,” Chan explains. “The ancients believed different dragons controlled rainfall and flooding; they brought life-giving rain to the crops which sustained a nation, or they caused the catastrophic floods that wiped out millions. No wonder dragons were considered the loftiest, most powerful and most fearsome of creatures.”
In the archives: another dragon, more storytelling and the influences of different cultures.
Some related favorites: The Last Ice Merchant, a música portuguesa a gostar dela própria, and Māori dancers perform a Haka dance.
This incredible animation by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck chronicles the story of British naturalist, anthropologist, biologist, geographer, and intrepid adventurer Alfred Russel Wallace, who was also Charles Darwin's lesser-known partner on the joint presentation On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. From Smithsonian Mag:
It was during fits of malaria that Wallace started to come up with the idea of natural selection. He sent his manuscript to Darwin, who puts together a set of notes to be presented alongside Wallace’s. When the Linnean Society of London hears the case for natural selection in 1858, Wallace and Darwin share the credit.
So what happened? Why do we remember Darwin and not Wallace? Well, for one, when Darwin published On the Origin of Species, he barely mentions Wallace at all. And Wallace doesn’t complain. In fact, he loves the book. And with that, he fades away.
Though we doubt the story was quite that simple. Read more about the differences of their ideas, see more of Wallace’s Collection (like these) at London’s Natural History Museum, and check out another of his contributions: the Wallace Line.
Related watching: TED Ed’s Five Fingers of Evolution and How Mendel’s pea plants helped us understand genetics, and previously from Lichtman and Shattuck, a favorite: Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).
via sagan sense.