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Dance with Zhejiang couple lifts spirits of millions

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-06-08 18:45

When life tries to bring you down, just dance!

That's the message from Peng Xiaoying, 45, and her 49-year-old husband, Fan Deduo, in Zhejiang province.

The couple - farmers who grow corn on a half-hectare in Mayu Town in Rui'an, Wenzhou - recently went viral on the internet through the shuffle dance step they invented. They've cheered up millions of Chinese netizens who salute the couple's smiling faces and their easygoing approach to life.

Dancing along the path to the field, dragging their feet and sometimes jumping into the air to imitate ducks, has offered the couple a mountain of joy, despite their failure in business, a serious traffic accident, illnesses and other troubles.

"Whenever we feel upset, the shuffle dance always helps cheer us up and lighten our mood. It has been such an up-lifter in our lives," Pens said. "I think the main reason why we get so happy when we dance has to do with the idea of us exercising with the shuffle on the ridges. It's really exciting."

The couple's dedication to the dance arose about 18 years ago, when Fan became chronically depressed with major depressive disorder, or MMD. He lost all hope in life after a severe traffic accident in Yunnan province.

He became nervous, irritated by trifles in life, and had trouble sleeping at nights. The couple decided to wrap up their shoe-selling business in Yunnan and return to their hometown Rui'an.

To help conquer his depression, Peng, a square dance lover, invited Fan to join her. The minute he began, his suffering eased like magic.

The couple then became frequent participants in square dancing. And that's where they invented the shuffle, to which they incorporated certain rural life elements, such as combing the hair and pumping the bellows, into the dance.

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the couple uploaded their dance videos to Tik Tok and began livestreaming on the sharing livestream platform. Their innocent smiles and unique dance steps took cyberspace by storm, with more than 1.5 million netizens subscribing to their channel so far and following their dancing through Tik Tok.

"Look at them! I think that's really what the essence of dancing is about - not showing off but really bringing happiness and joy to the dancers themselves in a simple way. This is the most beautiful dancing I've ever seen," one netizen effused.

For the dancing couple, expression is everything.

"We love life in the countryside. We can dance after our daily work," Fan said. "It's a dream life."

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