Our photo theme this week is “Get Physical” — physical education and culture that spans dynasties. Kung fu, qigong, elderly square dancing, and everything in between.
In the states, the term square dancing conjures up images of rodeos, hoedowns, and honky tonks (every dancer will be wearing a tucked in plaid shirt and blue jeans. Just trust us).
But in China, square dancing is something else entirely. Guangchang wu (广场舞) — literally “square dance” — refers to the town or neighborhood square, where you meet up with all your friends to go do group dance routines. It’s a favorite pastime of the aging crowd; and why not? Get moving, get social, get outside — these are all good things.
Still, when you’re trying to get into your local KFC, and there are 45 middle aged women posted up outside the door waving handkerchiefs to dystopian electro music that’s simultaneously from 2006 and 1981 — it can get a bit thick. The government has had to threaten action on rogue square dancers in the past for clogging up public infrastructure, but we haven’t seen much materialize out of it. You gotta respect your elders, and nobody wants to be the guy to kick out a group of smiling, healthy aunties in the midst of their groove.
But today’s photo is a different gang. Check out these young square dancers learning the ropes at an elementary school in Hubei. Would you just look at these colorful sweaters. Special shout out to the kid in orange near the bottom left. Do your own thing.