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Dance, dance evolution

By Xu Xiaomin and Yang Yuqing ( Shanghai Star ) Updated: 2014-07-25 13:35:34

Dance, dance evolution

Middle-aged women don identical costumes for their daily dancing session downtown. Gao Erqiang/Shanghai Star

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Every day at 7 pm, old-fashioned music fills Hongkou Football Stadium as more than 100 people sway to the beat.

The dancers, mostly women, stand in rows and perform a series of simple but well-timed moves. Two steps forward. Two steps back. Turn around. And clap. They repeat this routine until the music coming through a set of portable loudspeakers stops.

"Hei!", they shout together, as an expression of encouragement and, perhaps triumph.

"Guang chang wu", or public group dancing, has become a popular form of exercise at town squares and stadiums in nearly every Chinese city. The authorities began promoting it in recent years as a way to create more civilized, interactive communities and to encourage more elders to exercise.

Shanghai has extended the opening hours of 66 parks in summer, so more can continue dancing at night, in the open air.

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