Image of Dragon Dance in the Streets of Honolulu
Two dragons are led by dancers in the Honolulu Festival Parade.
Photo by Daniel Ramirez

Like ballet, classical Chinese dance requires many hours of practice and is a very controlled, complex art. SF Ballet's version of the Chinese divertissement in Nutcracker, combines classical ballet with elements inspired by traditional Chinese Dragon Dance. 

One highly popular form of Chinese dance today is the Dragon Dance, which is often performed during Chinese New Year festivals. Each of the dancers holds up a portion of the dragon on a long pole and runs in long lines, one after the other at the same speed creating the illusion that the dragon zooms and swirls through space. Accompanied by loud drums and even smoke, the dance is meant to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck to the people. Dragons represent luck, prosperity, fertility, wisdom and power. You might notice that dragons are often  brightly colored, which is not only visually pleasing but also meaningful as the different colors are also symbolic: red stands for vitality, green for health and good harvest, and gold and silver represent good fortune.