Underwater dragon dance at S.E.A. Aquarium for Chinese New Year

S.E.A. Aquarium will be putting up an underwater dragon dance performance during the Chinese New Year period. Dive team member Lirene shares the challenges of performing such a dance:

S.E.A. Aquarium underwater dragon dance
Looking at the underwater dragon dance from the inside of the habitat

The dragon dance began from as early as the Han Dynasty of ancient China, and has evolved to become a part of the fabric of Chinese culture and celebrations today.

Putting a spin to this two thousand-year-old practice this Chinese New Year, S.E.A. Aquarium will have the dragon dance performed underwater in the centre of two of the largest habitats. Surrounded by inquisitive fish, the dragon dance will be performed Open Ocean Habitat at 11am, 2pm, 4.30pm during the Gong Sea Fa Cai programme from from 23 January to 22 February 2016 .

S.E.A. Aquarium underwater dragon dance
S.E.A. Aquarium underwater dragon dance

The underwater dragon is different from other dragons. Its material is made of polyester so it is more durable in the water.

The head of the dragon is made from plastic. Traditional dragons tend to be made from papier-mâché which is not at all suitable for underwater performances.

The dive team with the underwater dragon and its pearl.
The dive team with the underwater dragon and its pearl.

The dragon and the dive team’s suits are yellow which appears vibrant underwater.

Red is not a suitable colour for the costume as it appears faded on the outside of the habitat due to light refraction.

Underwater dragon dance not as easy it looks

S.E.A. Aquarium underwater dragon dance

The S.E.A. Aquarium dive team has choreographed the dance with the underwater dragon. Like the traditional dance, the dragon will be chasing after the pearl as it gracefully moves in many directions.

Our highly skilled divers make the performance look easy; however there are many factors which are more challenging underwater than on dry land.

Due to the polyester material and the plastic dragon head, the divers will need to spend some time sinking the dragon dance equipment by letting out trapped air.

Performing underwater also comes with added resistance to the movements of the divers. As each appearance takes about 30 minutes, our divers must be fit enough to swim, manoeuvre and synchronise their movement throughout.

In order get ready for the performance, our divers will have put in hours of rehearsals to bring you the best performance. After this training, the divers involved are even more “buddy-buddy”.

Keep an eye out for this underwater dragon dance in the S.E.A. Aquarium from 23 January to 22 February 2016 at Gong Sea Fa Cai programme.


Venue: Open Ocean Habitat
Time: 11am, 2pm, 4.30pm

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Watch this video of last year’s Underwater Dragon Dance:

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