Don’t knock it — square danc­ing is a way to keep fit

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - THE OR­GA­NIZ­ING

com­mit­tee for the 13th Na­tional Games, which will be held in Tian­jin from Au­gust 27 to Septem­ber 8, has for the first time in­cluded square danc­ing among the events. Le­gal Daily com­ments:

This is the first time the pop­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment and keep-fit ac­tiv­ity has been rec­og­nized as a com­pet­i­tive sport.

Many young peo­ple re­gard square danc­ing as a noisy pas­time en­joyed only by se­nior ci­ti­zens, and com­plain that the ac­tiv­ity is a nui­sance as the el­derly dancers hog the pub­lic spa­ces in cities.

But while the square danc­ing can be noisy and many el­derly are at­tracted to par­tic­i­pate, that does not jus­tify de­mo­niza­tion of the ac­tiv­ity, which — even its crit­ics can­not deny — is the most pop­u­lar form of phys­i­cal ex­er­cise in China to­day.

That square danc­ing has been in­cluded as an event in the Na­tional Games is of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion of the pos­i­tive role this uniquely Chi­nese form of pub­lic ex­er­cise plays in help­ing peo­ple, es­pe­cially the el­derly, keep phys­i­cally and men­tally fit.

Square danc­ing can be seen through­out China, in small vil­lages and big cities, with peo­ple in their 50s and 60s be­ing the main par­tic­i­pants.

Square danc­ing should not be a cause for gen­er­a­tional con­flicts, and it is also un­fair to at­tribute the wrong­do­ings of some of dancers to all of them.

Lo­cal govern­ments should take the move to in­clude square danc­ing in the games, which will re­quire draw­ing up rules and stan­dards, as an op­por­tu­nity to strengthen their man­age­ment of square danc­ing in pub­lic spa­ces, des­ig­nat­ing spe­cific ar­eas for the dancers and set­ting noise lim­its.

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