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Group dancing limited in S China

Updated: 2013-11-15 11:37
By Xu Jingxi in Guangzhou ( China Daily)

Group dancing limited in S China

Residents in Guangzhou exercise on a square, May 1, 2012. [Photo/]

Dance enthusiasts in Guangzhou who like to shake their stuff in public parks say they will obey the city's pending restrictions on noisy fitness and recreation activities in parks, but they hope there won't be a total ban on group dancing in public places.

The capital of South China's Guangdong province is the first city in China to have drafted a rule on the creation of silent zones in areas of parks that are close to schools, hospitals, offices and residential quarters.

If the draft becomes law, people who make noise in the silent zones in the course of conducting fitness and recreation activities will be fined between 200 yuan ($32.8) and 1,000 yuan.

Dancing, tai chi and stretching routines are common sights in parks across China, often carried out in groups and accompanied by music from loudspeakers.

Group dancing, or guangchangwu, has gained the spotlight at home and abroad since it is peculiar to China. However, it has also been controversial, with people living near parks complaining about the noise.

In August, a Chinese woman surnamed Wang was detained in New York because her guangchangwu dancing group made loud noises while dancing in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, after some angry neighboring residents called the police.

Dozens of people, often older women, gather in public parks and squares early in the morning and after dinner, turn on loudspeakers and dance to the music. Some groups wiggle to pop songs, learning easy moves from aerobics and Western dance, while others dress in costumes and carry props such as fans as they move to the tunes of pop duo Phoenix Legend.

Tan Cuixia, 66, takes a one-hour dance class in Yuexiu Park every morning, paying just 30 yuan per month for the sessions. She has been making the 30-minute commute from her home every morning since the park opened for free in 2009.

Her dance teacher brings a loudspeaker to the open space near the park's east gate, turns on the music and teaches aerobics designed for the elderly.

Tan admitted that the group has received complaints several times but said that they are careful to keep the volume down now so as not to disturb people living nearby.

"If the square where we dance becomes a silent zone, we will obey the rule and look for another place where guangchangwu is permitted," Tan said.

"But I hope guangchangwu won't be completely banned. I think we should be allowed to stay in the same place if the volume of our music is kept low."

According to the draft of the regulations, people have to ask for permission from the park authority before they use loudspeakers in a park. The music should also be below the maximum volume that the authority sets for the fitness and entertainment areas.

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