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Gymnast head over heels in love with Shanghai

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-09 08:58
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Krupikova Oksana, a Russian expat in Shanghai.

"If I have to sum up my feelings for Shanghai in just one word, I would say it's love," Russian Krupikova Oksana proclaims in an interview for Shanghai Through Our Eyes, a video series featuring expatriates and their impressions of the city.

Oksana is a professional gymnast who founded the Bodylab Dance Center in Shanghai in 2016. She has three studios in the city.

Although Oksana has been living in Shanghai for more than a decade, her China story actually dates back to her childhood.

"My grandfather joined the Communist Party when he was young, and he told me a lot of good things about China-the Chinese people are very hardworking, and the country has been developing very well," says Oksana.

"He passed his love for China on to me when I was a child."

Oksana recalls that when she finally came to China, she found the country was exactly the way that her grandfather described.

"Shanghai is developing very fast, and includes different cultures, which makes it an international city," she says. "People are very friendly, and I feel very comfortable living here."

Dancing has always been Oksana's passion, and this was what drove her to set up Bodylab, which teaches various dancing and fitness courses, including gymnastics, yoga and hip-hop.

Last year, the COVID-19 outbreak was a difficult time for Oksana's dance center as students could not attend classes.

"The local government offered help at that time, and granted us some rent exemptions," she says. "The authority controlled the outbreak rather quickly so that we were able to get back to normal."

The leadership of the Communist Party of China has played a vital role in the country's fight against the COVID-19, says Oksana.

"Some employees in my dance center are Party members. They are very responsible, passionate and devoted to work," she says.

Oksana likes strolling along the Huangpu River after work, and the beautiful view of the river at night often reminds her of the Russian song Moscow Nights.

"The lyrics aptly describe the nighttime view of the Huangpu River, which embodies the enchanting and inviting nature of Shanghai," she says.

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