What’s wrong about square dance?

Last night is the first time I jogged along a coast line. Dazzled by the neon lights on the other side of the sea and smelling the salty wind, I was excited about this new life and at the same time realized that, also for the first time in my life, I was an outlander. But wait a minute, was it auditory delusion? I heard the exact rhyme played everywhere in my hometown Beijing  “love is not something you can buy, so don’t even try……”,and that acoustics……Yes, it’s SQUARE DANCE.

Here are some reports on this team sport with Chinese Characteristics~ Some of them really made me laugh.



Members of a Chinese dance troupe, armed with prop weapons, reenact wartime scenes during a July 2014 performance of “red songs" at a mall in Beijing. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)

The key massage of LA Times is that square dance indicates some elder people’s nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution. The report also lists several names of the songs, such as “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China", “Remembering Mao’s Words in My Heart", and  “Cut the Devil’s Head Off With the Big Knife" which probably the most catchy one ╮(╯_╰)╭I know how these names sound, but like it or not cultural revolution was the youth of a whole generation. The marching rhythm and political lyrics has burnt in their mind. If some of them give you the impression that they “miss” those old days, I ‘d rather believe what they miss are the days when they were young, passionate and innocent. There is nothing political about it.

Here is a Chinese report I found on Sina Finance, a very radical one, so be prepared. Basically, it’s about how the songs, the dancing steps make one become more and more self-centered and extreme, which is an interesting perspective, but still too radical.


Normally domestic media are too busy to write about how middle-aged women spend their spare time, unless foreign media start to care about it or grandmas and aunties suddenly land in abroad. Here is the typical tone of the authority (Sorry~ China Daily……) “Square dancing could have become an example of the collective aspect of Chinese culture, but now it seems that the over-enthusiasm of a group of Chinese dama has dealt it a fatal blow, at least on the international stage. Perhaps overenthusiastic square dancers should take a step back on their own, instead of waiting for government regulation telling them to do so, and allow the dance form to become popular overseas in the normal way.”

A group of aged women, suspected of having menopausal syndrome, dance in Paris, New York, and Central Moscow!? How embarrassing, they represent China! (The cry of State propaganda department)


WSJ pointed out a real problem of public dancing. For all its benefits, square dance conflicts with an increasing desire among many for a quieter, less chaotic urban lifestyle as public spaces are being squeezed by development. 

What’s more, moves to control public dancing threaten a tradition that has wide appeal among members of the country’s rapidly growing elderly population. According to a recent report by China Central Television, the state broadcaster, as many as 100 million people, mostly women in their 50s and 60s, now take part.

By 2020, according to state media, people 60 years or older will make up roughly 16% of China’s population at 240 million or so. Such a large group of people have rights to create their own living style and community, yet the conflict it caused is a puzzle.


Recently, a young Chinese magazine Yidu revealed a business chain behind square dance. Banks, real-estate and insurance companies begin to sponsor square dance groups and establish their market among Damas, who often have a mighty power over their “far more than adults” sons.

Besides, China Square Dance Union will release about 700 new songs and steps each year and upload them on line. The biggest monthly traffic was 100m hits.

In a word, business about square dance has just begun.






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