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Chinese street dance craze shakes up the world

Joyful and exuberant, new phenomenon goes viral, provides better understanding of nation's pop culture

By YANG HAN in Hong Kong and YANG WANLI in Bangkok | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-03-13 07:09

A dancer from Russia tries the kemusan dance. DOUYIN

Emotional release

The dance has been widely spread via social media in the form of short videos.

"The kemusan dance itself is a lot of joy and fun that can be recognized by people worldwide. Young people, in particular, can find in the dance a free and delightful way to express themselves in a positive way," said Yu Haiqiu, director of Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences' Thailand Research Institute.

"The dance meets the emotional needs of many people and helps release their feelings. Some kemusan dance videos have been performed in public places, which shows the attitude of young people who want to be independent and are not afraid of others' opinions," Yu said.

Yu attributed the global popularity and mass participation in kemusan to its free and easy style.

"It's not hard to learn and get everyone engaged. Some people have even developed their own style of kemusan to make the performance unique and personal," she added.

Younger generations, especially those born after the 1990s and 2000s, are more deeply involved with the internet and social media, Yu said.

"The internet helps to bridge the geographical gap and gives individuals a stage to express themselves. Everyone has a chance to be under the spotlight, and dancing is one of the ways to perform," she said. "This kemusan dance trend helps to bring people from around the world with different backgrounds even closer, which is very encouraging."

Veronika Saraswati, convener of the China Studies Research Unit at the Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said the "subject three" dance is an energetic and enjoyable dance that is inspiring togetherness, cooperation and harmony.

"Therefore, many people love it," she said.

Besides the "subject three "dance, Saraswati said other areas of Chinese popular culture such as TV dramas are also growing in global popularity.

"Popular culture is a window for people around the world to understand Chinese culture comprehensively," said Saraswati. "China's great achievements in advanced technology and innovation benefit and support these cultural works."

Ellis Ng in Singapore and Jin Mengzhe in Bangkok contributed to this story.

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