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Dragon Dance

Reflections on a Chinese dragon's many feet, with a "Partner Song" finale
Poet/Lyricist: 
Elizabeth Alexander
Recipient of Top Honors in the Waging Peace Through Singing Project

The clever lyrics of this upbeat song describe a Chinese dragon with many different feet, a wholehearted affirmation of diversity within a community. Sung predominantly in unison, this song features a syncopated “partner song” finale.

Item Instrumentation/Voicing Duration Level Audio Peruse Delivery Method (Print vs. Digital) Price Quantity
SEA-001-03 SA, piano - Choral Score
2' ME https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/dragon_dance.mp3 Sheet Music $1.50
SEA-001-03DEL SA, piano - Choral Score
2' ME https://www.seafarerpress.com/sites/seafarerpress.advantagelabs.com/files/works_variant_audio_files/dragon_dance.mp3 Licensed PDF $1.50

Dragon Dance

Lyrics by Elizabeth Alexander

Behold the Chinese dragon, the toast of New Year's Day,
With legs of nearly every shape and size.
They dance in all directions, and in such disarray,
I fear he'll fall apart before my eyes!

The head goes left and the tail goes right,
The feet go fast and the body goes slow,
The front end pushes and the back end pulls
and there seems to be no plan —
But hey, no matter!
The dragon stays together.

Some feet are wearing sandals, or moccasins, or pumps,
Or boots with laces trailing on the ground.
The dragon bends and stretches, its body sags and humps,
But somehow that old reptile gets around.

The head goes left and the tail goes right,
The feet go fast and the body goes slow,
The front end pushes and the back end pulls
and there seems to be no plan —
But hey, no matter!
The dragon stays together.

I marvel at this dragon cavorting in the street,
This multi-ped made up of such extremes.
I wonder how he functions with all those different feet?
What keeps the beast from splitting at the seams?

The head goes left and the tail goes right,
The feet go fast and the body goes slow,
The front end pushes and the back end pulls
and there seems to be no plan —
But hey, no matter!
The dragon stays together

Composer's Note: 

I put this song under "Children's Choirs," because it's children who most often sing it, but adults enjoy it, too! (It was originally composed for a whole congregation to sing while a Chinese dragon danced up and down the aisles.) Its engaging jazz harmonies, colorful piano accompaniment, and easy-to-learn countermelody make it a memorable selection for both singers and audiences.

Performers: 

Premiere: Choir of First Unitarian Society of Madison, WI / Elizabeth Alexander (Madison, WI)
Children's Choir of Ithaca Unitarian Church / Elizabeth Alexander (Ithaca, NY)
Choir of Community Church of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
Choir of First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR / Mark Slegers (Portland, OR)
Choir of Saint John's Unitarian Universalist Church / Catherine Roma (Cincinnati, OH)
Choir of Union Elementary School / Mattie Banzhaf (Unionville, CT)
Choir of Unitarian-Universalist Church of Fulton, CA / Judi Herz (Fullerton, CA)
Choirs of Community Church of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
Frederick Children's Chorus / Judy du Bose (Frederick, MD)

 

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