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Chinese Officials Issue Rules for 'Dancing Grannies'


In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 photo, Chinese women wearing military costume march with toy guns during their daily exercises at a square outside a shopping mall in Beijing.

In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 photo, Chinese women wearing military costume march with toy guns during their daily exercises at a square outside a shopping mall in Beijing.


China has announced rules for grandmothers who dance in public. The government hopes the move will end an unusual conflict.

Sports officials in Beijing say they have established 12 new choreographed routines to help grandmothers learn how to dance the right way. A group of experts developed the dances.

It is common in many Chinese cities for large groups of older women to go to a local park after dinner for organized dancing to loud music. But many park neighbors have protested the noise.

So the government has decided to intervene. It put in place government approved routines and set new rules about dancing times and the volume at which music can be played.

The government order has caused mixed reactions.

One online commenter wrote, “Do we need to remember Chairman Mao’s words before dancing?” Another said, “People have a right to dance. Why are they regulating dancing?”

Others agreed with the new rules.

“I felt like this is good. Experts have more knowledge about the proper fitness method. And it will have the opposite effect if they did not exercise in a right way,” wrote one commentator.

Many of the grandmothers seemed to like the new dance rules.

One old woman on a Beijing dance team said that it is a “good thing if there is a standard choreographed dance.” She added that she would try almost all the dances that are “suitable” for her age.

But she was not happy that her group would need to buy instructions for the new routines. She called upon the government to make the new dance moves freely available to the public.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

VOA’s Silver Yang reported this story with contributions from Julie Peng. Mario Ritter wrote it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

choreograph – v. to decide how a dancer or group of dancers will move during a performance

routine – n. a series of things (such as movements) that are repeated as part of a performance

volume – n. the amount of sound that is produced by a radio, television, stereo, etc.

standardadj. regularly and widely used, seen, or accepted: not unusual or special

suitableadj. having the qualities that are right, needed, or appropriate for something

instructionn. a statement that describes how to do something

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