The White Lotus group (internally also called "WhiLo") consists of passionate young dancers who combine the traditional lion dance with modern dance styles. Since its foundation in 2006, White Lotus has been rehearsing at the Kultur Palast Hamburg Foundation, where they create choreographies by exchanging musical movements and organizing workshops at the weekends. The specific agenda of events is determined by the workshop leader, rotating among the participants. Those who are interested in participating or in becoming a workshop leader can register beforehand.
In White Lotus, the lion dance, originally from China, meets modern dance forms such as Contemporary, Breakdance, Krump, House and Popping as well as martial arts elements. Some of the participants have a Asian (Vietnamese and Chinese) background, but of course this is not a precondition for being enthusiastic about the Lion Dance and becoming part of the group. They are famous for the opulent lion costumes and their monkey and Buddha masks. White Lotus perform at festivals, company parties, weddings, children's parties and on many other occasions. Tradition and modernity are combined in White Lotus for charitable projects.
Here the lion dance is often confused with the dragon dance. The lion, however, is moved by only two dancers in a lion costume (head and back), whereas the dragon, is moved by 10-15 dancers with the help of poles that make the costume float in the air. The lion's movements are musically accompanied and timed by various instruments: drums, cymbals and the gong are used here. Lion, monkey and Buddha costumes are complemented by ninja accessories.
The lion dance originated in China and formed variants in Vietnam, Korea, Tibet and Japan. It is a traditional part of the Chinese New Year and is used as a ritual for good luck at numerous important events. There are numerous legends about the origin of the lion dance and the meaning of the lion itself. In Chinese mythology, the lion is a sacred animal that brings good luck. White Lotus itself refers to the legend of the Hindu monkey god Hanumān, who was banned from heaven along with the lion after they have caused commotions there. The laughing Buddha was also sent to earth to tame the troublemakers and keep them under control. Many of the stories told by White Lotus through the dance are about the play between Buddha, the monkey god and the lion.