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Old Shanghai dances again

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-05 14:31

Old Shanghai dances again

The Tea Dance is held every Saturday afternoon in the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Provided to China Daily

As buzz surrounding the release of The Great Gatsby continues to build, fans of the F. Scott Fitzgerald film have the chance to channel the spirit of the Jazz Age in Shanghai.

Fairmont Peace Hotel, the former Sassoon House built by real estate tycoon Sir Victor Sassoon in the late 1920s, has reinstated its legendary Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance.

The dance was a tradition at the hotel until wartime put a stop to the glamorous event. The hotel, which in the 1930s was called the Cathay Hotel, hosted the Tea Dance as an exclusive social event that money alone could not secure tickets for. It used to be the pinnacle of high-society in 1930s Shanghai on the Bund, when the city was known as the Paris of the Orient.

Now held in the Jasmine Lounge on the first floor of the hotel, the same room the event was held in 80 years ago, the Tea Dance is back every Saturday afternoon. Tickets can now be secured for between 288 and 358 yuan ($47-58) and includes a feast of refined cuisine.

Six professional instructors from the local dancing schools will be on site during the first few weeks, offering free coaching, pairing with those who come without a partner and more importantly, lighting up the dance floor.

A live orchestra will perform from the graceful mezzanine balcony overlooking the polished wooden floor. Microphones and speakers are available on site in case audience members wish to sing.

There is no dress code required, but for those wanting to tackle the dance floor, putting aside flip-flops and badly-fitting jeans and instead wearing comfortable shoes is recommended.

As the music flows into the art deco lounge, and waitresses wearing qipao shuttle to and fro presenting beautiful three-tier dessert trays, it's easy to imagine you have been transported to the glorious opulence of the 1920s Jazz Age, whether you are waltzing, foxtrotting, or simply swaying to the music.

Old Shanghai dances again

Old Shanghai dances again

Old Shanghai dances again

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