Too shy to let your guard down and bust a move when you’re on a night out? Maybe you should let China’s square dancers help you get in the groove. If you walk around a Chinese city in the evening, you’ll surely find them.
“广场舞 (guǎngchǎngwǔ) square dancing” is a wildly popular form of recreation in China designed to get the elderly out of the house and keep them social and fit. It’s a creative way to do exercise with so much fun. It’s not the kind of square dancing you may have seen in one of those old cowboy movies, either. Let’s shake a leg and see how China does square dancing.
You’d think that in stacked megalopolises like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen empty spaces would be hard to find. However, if you visit you’ll find public parks with wide squares are quite common. Hang around one just before the sun begins to set and you’ll see dozens of “中老年人 (zhōnglǎonián rén) middle-aged and elderly folks,” trickle in with stereos, streamers and friendly faces. Most of them will be what are affectionately called “大妈 (dàmā),” which roughly translates to “auntie”. But don’t let their age fool you—these old folks can get down.
It’s common for the “妇女 (fùnǚ) women” or “大妈 (dàmā) auntie” to line up in rows and perform synchronized dances to popular songs like “小苹果 (xiǎo píngguǒ),” a viral pop song released by the “筷子兄弟 (kuàizi xiōngdì),” known in English as the Chopstick Brothers. The video for “小苹果 (xiǎo píngguǒ),” which means “Little Apple,” features its own special square dance, so you can bet that’s what these light-on-their-feet ladies will be re-enacting. They might even whisk around their colorful streamers for added flourish. And what about the gents? They’ll pair up with a lady for a one-on-one waltz.
These old guys and gals aren’t sitting on the sidelines and neither should you, so hit the dance floor!
1. 广场舞 (guǎngchǎngwǔ): square dancing
Wǒ māma hěn xǐhuan tiào guǎngchǎngwǔ.
我 妈妈 很 喜欢 跳 广场舞。
My mother really likes public square dancing.
2. 妇女 (fùnǚ)：women
Wǒ gěi māma zhǔnbèi le yígè Fùnǚjié lǐwù.
我 给 妈妈 准备 了 一个妇女节 礼物。
I gave my mother an International Women’s Day present.
1. Who are most likely to be the square dancers in China?
A. 大妈 (dà mā)
B. 大叔 (dàshū)
C. 姑娘 (gūniang)
2. What do you think “年” in “中老年人” means?