广场舞 (Guăngchăngwŭ) is the casual name for ladies dancing in parks. All over China you see them, groups of colorfully clad retirees, swinging their legs to the latest pop hits and having a great time.
China’s relatively early retirement age may contribute to their vigor – women commonly retire at 55, or 50 if they’re manual workers – 5 years earlier than men. While waiting for the grandkids to arrive, they flock to green spaces with their ghettoblasters.
The dances are often synchronous – you learn by paying attention to the ringleader in the front line, but beware – formations turn like in the Macarena, and your turn is coming up!
Studies show that park dancing contributes positively to overall public health and it certainly keeps post-retirement isolation at bay too.
Men sometimes participate, but it more likely you’ll see them playing other park games, like Chinese chess or kicking jiànzi, little colorful feather contraptions.
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