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Pole position

Updated: 2013-05-30 09:44
By Tiffany Tan ( China Daily)

Pole position

Sun Fengqin shows off a routine at her pole dancing school in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Wang Chengbing / for China Daily

At the age of 61, Sun Fengqin has taken up a hobby more commonly seen in nightclubs than retiree homes. The sexagenarian says she wants to inspire others in their twilight years to try something new. Tiffany Tan reports.

Many grandmothers spend their days cooking, grocery shopping or watching their grandkids but Sun Fengqin is more focused on perfecting her dance routine. At 61, the grandmother of two is busy preparing for her second national pole dancing competition. Despite a spinal injury - which required two metal pins to be inserted into her spine - Sun took up pole dancing last spring. The retired office worker says she was drawn by the dance's vigor and sexy moves, which she first saw in a video online.

A couple of months after starting classes in her home city of Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Sun made international headlines and is described by some as China's oldest pole dancer. She has since become known as "Pole Dancing Granny".

In a fast-aging Chinese society, Sun says she wants to become a model of vitality to other senior citizens. Pole dancing, she says, has actually alleviated the pain in her spine and brought her joy.

"If elderly people just take care of their grandchildren and children and do housework, like they did before retirement, they can never experience the world outside their families," she says.

"If we don't get a chance to enjoy in our old age something we didn't enjoy in our youth, then life doesn't hold much meaning. Life should be rich and colorful."

Sun's outlook has inspired women, like 38-year-old Yan Xiaopei, to take up pole dancing even though she is up to two decades older than most of her classmates. "When I discussed the plan with my husband, his first reaction was, 'Will you still be able to learn that at your age?'

"But when I read about 'Pole Dancing Granny' online, I became even more convinced of coming to Beijing to learn pole dancing," the mother of three from Ganyu county, Jiangsu province, says during a break from class at Lolan Pole Dancing School in the Chinese capital.


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