Passion for ballet's graceful moves takes off

By Emma Gonzalez ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-16 09:49:26

Passion for ballet's graceful moves takes off

Dancers practice at the Morning Star Ballet studio in Beijing. Morning Star is the first Royal Academy of Dance-authorized school on the Chinese mainland.[Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Classes popping up everywhere, a reflection of increasing consumer disposable incomes

An exhausted 28-year old Hu Yulei stretches after having finished a ballet routine with her classmates at the Morning Star Ballet Academy in the Sanlitun area in central Beijing.

Hu started practicing ballet in Nanjing at the age of six and she now uses the classical dance as a way to exercise and to escape from her daily working routine.

"I thought it would be good for me to have an activity where I can focus and have fun," said Hu.

Ballet studios are experiencing a growing wave of popularity in China, as an increasing number of both adults and children are discovering the benefits of classical dance.

Ballet teacher Adriana Wang, who has been teaching ballet for 20 years in public and private schools in China, points out that ballet classes have been popping up everywhere lately across the country.

"There are ballet lessons in all the club houses in almost every compound across China, and most of them taught unprofessionally, for fun or as an after-school activity," explained the ballet teacher.

The ballet boom is seen as a reflection of China's increasing disposable income. Nowadays, Chinese are eager to spend a larger part of their income on leisure activities that provide emotional gratification.

"Increased discretionary spending that promotes both physical and emotional well-being is expected to take the lead in the near future in the leisure and entertainment market," explained Laurel Gu, an analyst at market research firm Mintel China.

"There are lucrative opportunities for market players to cater to consumer's evolving emotional and material needs," she added.

Last year, the leisure and entertainment market reached 1.5 trillion yuan ($225.3 billion) in revenue, growing at an average of 12.5 percent over the last five years, according to Mintel.

However, given that it is a recent phenomenon, there are no official statistics to determine the exact amount of ballet studios opening in the country.

UK-based premium dance floor provider Harlequin Floors has profited from the recent boom of amateur dance studios.

The company first entered the Chinese market in the 1980s to sell sprung floors, ballet barres or dance handrails as well as technical theater solutions in the country.

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