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Following in love's steps

By Sun Yuanqing | China Daily | Updated: 2012-12-09 14:39
Following in love's steps

Participants at Dating Camp, China's first and so far only relationship service featuring dancing. Photos Provided to China Daily

Dating appears to be a problem for some of China's youths, reports Sun Yuanqing, but an initiative to find love through dance is breaking new ground.

Music blares and skirts flare. There's a lot of body bumping and toe treading too, but it isn't a problem because the point is not to learn how to dance but to love.

As more young Chinese find it hard to connect in an increasingly fragmented society, dance has become a new approach to help them open up and, perhaps, find the one.

"Dating and marriage is all about the handling of man-woman relationships, which is exactly what dance deals with," says Wu Di, author of I Know How You Were Left Over and co-founder of Dating Camp, China's first and so far only relationship service taught through dance.

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According to Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy in Beijing, in an interview with Foreign Policy, only 5 percent of urban Chinese women aged 25 to 29 were unmarried in 1982. This percentage doubled by 2005 and almost tripled by 2008.

With dating and a party culture yet to become prevalent in China, many youngsters are trapped in a narrow social circle and lead isolated lifestyles.

"They'd rather stay at home and surf the Internet once they get off work. Once they graduate from university, they no longer know how to make new friends. They might like someone, but have no idea how to express themselves," Wu says.

Dating Camp attendees are mostly white-collar workers, around 30 years old and have decent jobs. Despite success at school and work, they nonetheless find it difficult to form relationships. In Wu's opinion, this type of woman "can fix anything but men".

Men are rarely seen at Dating Camp, but they face the same problems, she adds.

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