One way to add pizazz to your Chinese New Year celebrations is with a lion or dragon dance. Besides (probably) making you the toast of your block, the people who host the dances are said to have improved luck all throughout the year. Here’s how much to set aside if you want one:
Standard rates for lion dances
The standard going rate is $688 for a pair of lions. However, this can go as low as $388, for a smaller show (note: this may mean the lions dance only at your gate and in the living room, but do not visit the other rooms of the house).
For three lions, the going rate is typically around $888 to $1,088.
Note that there may be extra costs if you want something unusual in the performance. For example, if you want the lion to grab at an unusually high bunch of lettuce (some troupes can manage up to three storeys!) you may be quoted an extra sum.
In addition to this, you’ll be expected to give a consideration (an ang pao). There is no rule about how much this has to be, but most people give at least $50. A more common sum is $88.
Standard rates for dragon dances
The standard rate for dragon dances is between $388 to $688. However, there is usually a package combining two lions and a dragon; this is typically around $1,388 to $1,588.
As with lion dances, you’ll be expected to set aside an ang pao on top of this.
Note that, due to space considerations, some troupes won’t offer dragon dances (or dragon plus lion combinations) in areas like HDB flats. Larger condos or landed / commercial properties are typically preferred for these.
Length of performance, and booking multiple performances
The minimum length of each performance is at least 15 minutes. However, dances typically last between 20 to 25 minutes. The time varies based on the size of your property. For example, it takes much longer to visit all the rooms in a landed property, than in a condo or HDB flat.
If you want the lion or dragon dance at a large commercial property, say at a factory that you own, the length of the performance is usually around 30 minutes – this is often the “time cap” of each performance.
Most troupes don’t change the cost based on the length of the performance – but note that those charging $388 will not typically visit every room in the house (i.e. the performance is shorter).
If you want to book multiple performances – such as for three or four properties that you own – the price can usually be negotiated down. The troupes we spoke to couldn’t give a definite number, but they said it could be as much as $200 to $300 lower per dance for multiple bookings.
Bookings and rates on different days
Bookings should be made at least one month in advance, although you’d be advised to start as early as two months before Chinese New Year. Some troupes have rush rates, and may charge as much as $300 more if they need to squeeze you in (e.g. you call two weeks ahead and hound them to turn up).
Also, note that some troupes charge less in the days immediately after Chinese New Year. Booking the dance a week after Chinese New Year day, for example, can lower the price by around $200.This varies based on each troupe, so do call or ask around.
Other key things to note
A few key things to note regarding lion and dragon dances are:
- There is no entertainment permit required, even in HDB estates.
- You are strongly advised to have a valid home content insurance policy. This isn’t just to cover the cost of anything that gets knocked over – it also covers liability claims in case anyone is injured on your property.
- If you’re doing this your tenanted properties, note that you still need written permission from the tenants; an email will suffice. Don’t just turn up with the troupe, even if your property is a rented-out factory (not every tenant stops work on Chinese New Year, and dances could get in the way).
- The arrangements are often informal. There may be no receipts, and there is often no refund policy. As such, it’s best to use a lion or dragon dance troupe with a good reputation – it’s better to use one recommended to you by a trusted source, than just to grab any random one off the internet.
99.co wishes all our readers a happy Chinese New Year!
Would you consider hosting a lion dance? Voice your thoughts in our comments section or on our Facebook community page.
If you enjoyed this article, 99.co recommends 7 Activities to Do in Singapore this Chinese New Year Weekend, and Spring Cleaning Hacks to Impress Relatives with this Chinese New Year.
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