Strictly square dancing

Updated: 2015-03-31 07:18

By Chen Nan(China Dailyi)

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Li, a former public servant from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, moved to Beijing with her family in 2008. She started square dancing in the summer of 2012. She cured her slipped disk through dancing and founded her own dance team in November 2013. Now, her team has nearly 1,000 people, aged from 40 to 80.

"I wanted to make my dance team special and different from the others because I realized that older people want to display themselves. They easily get bored with simple, regular movements. With eye-catching clothes and beautiful steps, they have fun and feel confident and young again," she says.

By teaching herself different dances, such as Latin, Tango and cha-cha, Li adds variety to square dancing. She has created five dance pieces.

"Don't underestimate the creativity of older people, we are curious and want to try different dance styles," she adds. "Because square dancing has attracted so much attention, I want to take it seriously."

Like Li, Zhuang Yun, 57, is a big fan of dance. She also interprets square dancing in her own way.

In 2012, the former journalist from Chongqing, Sichuan province, founded her dance team. For Zhuang, besides a healthy pastime, square dancing also means a sense of enjoyment, social engagement and reconnecting with creativity.

She choreographed a series of routines that she adapted from traditional Chinese folk dances, such as the lotus dance, which sees Zhuang and her team wearing fluffy, lotus-shaped dresses while holding lotus-shaped lanterns.

"Most of our members are in their early 50s. They are recently retired and are passionate about dancing. We not only entertain ourselves but also perform for older people in nursing homes," says Zhuang, who has about 900 team members and dances every day in a park near Andingmen in Beijing.