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Do-Si-Don't: China Issues Regulations for Square Dancing Grannies

Beijing has had enough of the disruption of its "dancing grannies," issuing national rules for square dancing, including a list of 12 approved dances.
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Beijing has finally had enough of the noise and disruption of its "dancing grannies," issuing national "standards and regulations" for square-dancing — including a list of 12 approved dances — Chinese state media reported Tuesday.

The "dancing grannies" — tens of millions of generally older women who gather in public places to dance as a form of exercise — have sparked a backlash in urban areas, creating a nationwide debate among younger city-dwellers, many of whom see them as a noisy public nuisance.

The square-dancing, which is called Guangchang Wu, "represents the collective aspect of Chinese culture, but now it seems that the overenthusiasm of participants has dealt it a harmful blow with disputes over noise and venues," Liu Guoyong, head of the Sport for All Department of the State General Administration of Sports, told the national China Daily newspaper. "So we have to guide it with national standards and regulations."

Those "standards and regulations" are actually 12 government-choreographed drills. Some are based on dances popular on Chinese online video services, like "The Most Dazzling Folk Style" and "Little Apple," which were demonstrated Monday at a news conference in Beijing.

Zhou Guanglian, deputy director of the Culture Ministry's cultural affairs department, told, the online partner of the state news service Xinhua, that many details remain to be worked out, including the appropriate volume of music, as well as permissible times and prohibited sites.

"With the newly composed dance moves and relevant activities, officials within China's General Administration of Sport hope square dancing will serve as an exercise activity for the public," Xinhua said in its own announcement Tuesday.