The first mention of the Lion Dance known dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when the poet Bai Juyi mentioned it in one of his poems.
The Beijing Lion Dance belongs to the northern school (the southern school is represented by the Guangdong Lion Dance). In the northern style, two persons impersonate the lion, with one man manipulating the head, and the other the tail. A third performer tosses an embroidery ball, enticing the lion to move this way and that, to the accompaniment of drums and gongs. Lion Dance performances, usually by amateurs, were a feature of the annual temple fairs.