Square dancers gets professional help

Updated: 2014-10-28 09:45

By Chen Nan(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Square dancers gets professional help

A Chinese square dancer dances during a workship provided by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Zou Hong / China Daily

Square dancers gets professional help
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After its successful debut summer school in China this year, the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), the world's oldest examination board, came to Beijing with a street dance and hip hop workshop from Oct 20 to 24.

According to Christopher Bannerman, chairman of ISTD, who has had a long career as a dancer and choreographer, the last time the London-based organization offered courses to Chinese students, they covered six dance genres, from Latin American to modern theater and jazz.

This time, he decided to bring street dance and hip hop to China because he was impressed by the scenes of how people, especially the elderly, embrace square dance.

"When I was in Beijing, I saw many retired people dancing on the street. It's very interesting because unlike street dance, which we have in London, the dance is called square dance and the movements are totally different," says the chairman, who is very interested in Chinese culture thanks to his father, who was a Chinese philosophy professor. "I want to know what kind of dance people are doing and why it becomes phenomenal."

During the five-day workshop, Dennis Victory, a teacher from ISTD, communicated with a group of retired women, who belong to a square dance group of Beijing's Sanlitun community, a neighborhood in the capital's downtown. While teaching some simple street dance moves to older students, he also learned square dance from them.

"I am impressed by the square dance performed by those ladies. The moves are simple to remember. Most importantly, both street dance and square dance are social dances, which have people communicate together," says Victory.

The 110-year-old ISTD has more than 7,500 members in over 75 countries around the world. Bannerman says that he hopes China will become the next member.

Moreover, he says that adding new dance forms into their courses is crucial for ISTD to keep evolving, so he is thinking about introducing Chinese folk dance and even square dance into ISTD.

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