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.
Line art of two lion dancers in front of dangling cabbage
Special requests, like dangling the lettuce from the second floor, might cost more
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.