Culture Notes: Where to Exercise: Square Dancing
In recent years, a collective activity named Square Dancing has been gaining popularity. In Chinese, it is called Guangchang Wu（广场舞）. It is really popular among middle-aged and senior people. In parks, housing districts and besides roads, wherever there is a square, there is Square Dancing.
Square Dancing often happens in the morning or in the evening. After breakfast or dinner, square dancers will flock into squares, turn on the music and dance with it. At first, there are usually only a few people on the square, and after some time, the teams get bigger. They wear clothes in all colors and styles, dancing in-sync. It is not so beautiful, actually, but it is very lively. It brings vitality and vigor to the city and also increases the charm of the city.
One of the reasons senior citizens in China go Square Dancing because they want to be healthier. They believe certain moves after breakfast and dinner will strengthen their bodies, just like jogging or some other sports. And the second reason is that they are bored. After retirement, they have nothing else to do. By doing this, they can kill time and also make new friends. This activity helps to enrich their daily lives. So Square Dancing is another kind of social activity, just like drinking coffee in a cafe.
And there’s also some in-depth reason for senior Chinese to square dance. Compared to some other countries, China is collective. Chinese people like to get together and do things together. So, middle-aged and senior Chinese people like to square dance together as this makes them feel that they belong to a group and they are not alone and can still keep up with society.
Where to Exercise 去哪儿锻炼 qù nǎr duànliàn
Square Dancing 广场舞 guǎngchǎng wǔ
© Shanghai International Studies University