Rod L'Huillier, Lived and studied in China for 6 years
I adore it. This is something the whole world can learn from. It's solves many of the pains of moving into old age including a lack of social interaction, physical activity and entertainment. Bravo!
In my time in China I really enjoyed seeing this, even joining in sometimes which always made for lots of laughs and smiles.
I would often go for a run up a small nearby mountain, it's hard to believe what I saw every morning. It was like a granny rave party! They had boom boxes pumping out beats with the dance leader acting as DJ. Over 100 people gathered, from 50 to 80 years old, all swinging and cutting moves on the pavement in tune to the beat.
I later found out that some older people take it very seriously, wearing co-ordinated clothes and even competing in square dancing competitions :) Apparently it can be quite cut throat :):)
The central government at one point even tried to introduce standardized dance routines :):):)
Seriously though, Western life and culture really lacks this component, and this is something we must learn from our Chinese friends, how to live joyfully and healthily through the later years of life.
We in the west should also learn about filial piety, too many families dump their family elderly members into care facilities without any respect so that they can get on with their apparently busy lives. So busy, they don't even go to visit the people that worked tirelessly to bring them into this earth.
It's sad though, as this beautiful and important element of Chinese culture seems to be clashing with modern life in China. Many young people in China complain about noise and that it disrupts the peace, simply because it clashes with there own lifestyles. But in fairness, sometimes the granny's really like to rock, and perhaps they could turn down the volume on the beats a little. Perhaps younger people should just join in?
The last years of life on planet earth should be memorable, joyful and beautiful. We should all celebrate this practice public square dancing, and help promote it globally.
How we care for the elderly, and the environment that we create for them, is a measure of own humanity is it not?
I want to say that it's nice for people to be out exercising and socializing, but honestly I find many dancing auntie groups quite selfish.
Public space in Chinese cities is quite limited and so should be shared, but dance groups occupy city squares every night of the week. When can other people use them? My daughter has nowhere to skate or ride her bike because the local squares and the park are taken over every evening by different dance groups or KTV singers. I've suggested they take an agreed day off once a week so people can come out and play badminton or rollerblade or whatever, but I've been ignored. That isn't neighbourly.
Then there's the noise. It's not as bad as it once was as the chengguan have warned them enough times, so the loudest groups go to the park which isn't too close to apartment blocks. But there is one group that dances on the pavement nearby their music can be heard until quite late. It's the same bloody songs as well, so it's not only loud but tedious. And shit. Yeah, shit. The music they dance too sucks serious fucking balls.
I like to watch them when ever I return to China. But I have to say that the best public space excerises I have seen are in Water Park in Tianjin. You can see many many different types of activities: dancing, ice skating, Taiji, hockey, ball games, calligraphy, gymnastics, swimming, singing, walking….every activity is in the open air. People talk to each other and help each other. they come from different backgrounds, some are rich and some are not so rich. But there is no discrimination in this kinds of sports. If you are up to it, people will admire you. I was very moved by this every time I see them.
When I saw older people at similar age in Britain sitting by a beach staring emptily into the sea in Eastbourne, I feel sad for them even if they might live another 10 years like this. When I saw older people in the parks in London trying so hard to chat up with anybody, I felt sad for them. of course, they probably also felt sad for the Chinese older people because they have no freedom of speech and cannot vote themselves out of the EU.
Michael C. Hilliard, Made in America, currently living and working in China
In my experience, there are usually two, sometimes three, kinds of dancing that go on in public squares in China:
One is what I like to call Chinese Zumba: it's 'aunties' (usually women aged about 30-50, I would guess, but occasionally there will be a guy or some kids, too). They set up a loudspeaker and hook it up to somebody's iPhone, then it's basically a public dance/exercise class to pop songs-like I said, Chinese Zumba. This takes places anywhere where the sidewalk is big enough for all the people who show up.
Michael C. Hilliard，出生在美国，现居和工作在中国
Ballroom-style dancing. This is usually in the centers of public parks, maybe near a fountain or a statue. More traditional music is played, sometimes from a live band, and couples waltz around the square. They seem to enjoy it.
Occasionally, either some traditional or ethnic dance, or, rarer still, a group of college age kids doing some kind of modern dance (usually breakdancing, in my experience, but I've only seen it a couple of times).
In all of the above cases, I think it's great. People dance for fun, for exercise, for romance and for art-all things China (and the rest of the world, for that matter) could use more of.
I'll try to update later with some pictures.
Kenny Xu, lives in China
In my opinion,if they don't bother me by noise or occupy our public place,I am totally agree with them.
My mother is a number of square dancing group,she has been retired already,she has a lot of spare time.the activity is a good choice for elder peason to consume their time.
Taking exercise is Another advantage ,running or something is too much for them,dancing is suitable for them.
My mother dancing in the public park .
But somebody dancing in the residential area,i am the sufferer from the square dancing.the speaker is opened everynight loudly.
Jimmy Ricardo Rosano Keesee, worked at China
I think its an amazing thing to see happen nightly. It promotes wellness, socializing and also keeps the older generation in touch with the young.
As a speculator… how can you think any thing but good things about hearing music and laughter on all the corners, parks and commercial centers at dusk every night?
Jimmy Ricardo Rosano Keesee，在中国工作
Magnus W. Magnusson, Living in China for 20 years and counting, speaking the language and reading it
Personally I think it is very nice. It seems to be a relaxing and social way to spend an evening, while it is certainly a good exercise. I often stop when I see this and watch the dancers. Often women together for lack of a male partner, some people even doing the steps alone.
Every country and culture has its own small special things. It is something neither to frown upon nor to be ashamed of.
The only irritation I sometimes feel is at the loudness of the music. Does it really be so loud, especially as the sound system is usually pretty low quality and if you overly amplify the music it just becomes distorted and tinny. That is something I do not understand - for me dancing is something romantic, not associated with screeching music.
Magnus W. Magnusson，在中国生活了20年，用汉语说话和阅读
李小样 Leigh, living, working, studying and loving China
As a foreigner living here I think it's really wonderful. I've lived in earshot of both dancers and opera singers and still think it's a really warm embodiment of Chinese culture and showcases how active and lively elderly people are (especially compared to the phone addicted young people!).
it's interesting to see the people towards the front leading while others around the edges watch and learn.
I hope this aspect of Chinese culture.doesn't disappear, I've loved encountering it in the various cities I've visited lighting up the evenings.