Former royal dwellings in Beijing serve locals

Updated: 2011-10-14 16:31


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You hear chanting coming from an ancient mansion with gray walls, gray roof and imperial gate in traditional China red in central Beijing, but don’t think it’s just another tourist spot, because it’s actually a community club, the Beijing News reported on Friday.

The paper said the Xicheng community school was set up in 2006 at the former home of an imperial family in old China.

In the dancing room, a woman surnamed Li said she only paid $3 for one dance class: "Every girl likes dancing but I had no chance when I was little. Now, my dream of dancing came true after retirement."

Another woman surnamed Zhang said she developed her skills on the electronic piano in three years at the local club.

Li Xinde, head of the school, said the school’s goal is to be an entertainment and learning place for the locals – mainly senior citizens and children -- and has 21 government-financed teachers. The school is well-equipped and is funded by the government.

Li was proud that 10 performance groups grew out of the school. A percussion band is made up of septuagenarians. Some groups were invited to perform in Canada in 2010 for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of China-Canada diplomatic ties, the paper said.

A cleaner surnamed Yin at the school also takes dance classes at the club.