The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Dragon Dance

A lighthearted partner song about a Chinese dragon’s diverse, collaborative feet

Words by Elizabeth Alexander

A lively partner song about a Chinese dragon’s many disparate feet, a wholehearted affirmation of cooperation and diversity.

Details and Ordering Information

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

I file this song under “children’s choirs,” because it’s children who most often sing it, but adults enjoy singing it too. In fact, it was originally composed for a whole congregation to sing while a Chinese dragon danced up and down the aisle!

Text

Dragon Dance

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

Elizabeth Alexander
© 1990 by Elizabeth Alexander

Performers

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)