Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Regulating Dancing Grannies

Have you seen women like these dancing around your neighbourhood?
On my way to the shuttle bus that takes me to work each morning, I pass through a small park and there's music blaring and a group of women in their 60s are busy following a dance routine, waving their arms, sashaying to the right then the left.

Some include handkerchiefs to accessorize their dancing, others fans. One time Gangnam Style blasted out which shocked me -- those aunties were really cool! But then I never heard them play that song again.

In Beijing, these "dancing grannies" were commonplace. After offices are cleared out, these women start converging on parks, plazas and even wide sidewalks, anywhere they can spread out and do their thing -- even if passersby have to snake around them to get to the other side.

While the music can be unbearable to listen to -- some are old school songs or just plain bad recordings, it's great to see these women not only getting some exercise in, but also socializing with others, which is probably the key to their well-being and health.

But not everyone likes the "dancing grannies" and there have been incidents where angry residents have tried to chase these women away to go dance elsewhere. In 2013 a Beijing man was so annoyed that he fired a shotgun in the air and set three Tibetan mastiffs at the dancing group. He was later arrested near his home.

This week the Chinese government has decided enough is enough and has issued rules developed after a joint study by the General Administration of Sport and the Ministry of Culture. The hope is to develop "healthy, watchable, scientific and wide-ranging" dancing, state media reported.

Therefore, an expert panel has developed 12 model routines that will be taught across the country by instructors who have received official training.

Here's the first one for you to check out:

Three scantily-clad young women show aerobic-like moves to synthesizer music that surely will rile up grannies who prefer their traditional songs.

"Dancing in public squares represents the collective aspect of Chinese culture, but now it seems that the over enthusiasm of participants has dealt it a harmful blow with disputes over noise and venues," said Liu Guoyang, chief of the General Administration of Sport. "So we have to guide it with national standards and regulations."

While many of these "dancing grannies" have complained about being regulated, other critics say the rules don't deal with the real issue -- noise levels. A commentary on news portal RedNet said:

"What the grannies need are venues, not regulated routines. Only an increase of public sports venues can satisfy urban and rural residents' need for fitness routines such as football and square-dancing, and lessen the phenomenon where square-dancing disturbs residents and takes up all the parks and public spaces."

Another commentary on Xinmin Evening News said: "The biggest tragedy is not the square dance by grannies, but the fact that grannies have nothing else to do than square-dance."

The last thing the government should want is a revolt from these "dancing grannies" -- they know organization and coordination!


  1. This is really sad! I love seeing the ladies dance in parks in Hong Kong, they look like they're having so much fun!

    1. HI littlekoo -- No worries! The Chinese government backpedaled so things are back to normal!