Open-Air Fitness Dancing

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Open-air fitness dancing (Chinese: 广场舞; pinyin: guangchangwu), also known as Chinese fitness, is a form of spontaneous communal dancing, taking place in parks or public squares, to keep fit.

Composed of various dancing elements, the dancing features no uniform movements or standards. It is easy to learn and plays a role in people's health and fitness, attracting more participants and becoming an essential part of a trendy lifestyle.

Over the past three decades of rapid growth, heralded by the reform and opening-up policy, the average Chinese diet has witnessed some dramatic changes towards becoming more nutritious and additionally people have realized they need more outdoor exercise to keep healthy.

Meanwhile, the dancing helps the elderly eliminating feelings of loneliness and gives them a sense of belonging after retirement as the country struggles with its aging population.

Statistics show that more than 100 million people love this way of fitness in China, the bulk of whom are women aged between 45 and 65.

The dancing is highly inclusive as it mixes bodybuilding exercises, folk dance, ballroom dance, Latin dance, Indian dance and belly dance. The music accompanying the dancing also bears a strong hotchpotch taste.

However, neighborhood residents have recently felt harassed by the loud noise of the music, triggering conflicts over the dancing activity in cities all over the country.

On November 16, 2013, dozens of students from the No. 1 Kailuan High School in Tangshang City, Hebei Province, stood silent in two rows at Phoenix Mountain Park in an outcry against noisy dancing music lingering from the park just across their school.

They were dressed in white T-shirts printed with the words "Dear grandpa and grandma, uncles and aunts, would you mind keeping your voice down when we are in class? Bless you and thank you!"

In October 2013, residents from the neighborhood of Hankou City, Hubei Province, who were agitated by the loud dance music downstairs, gave a final blow to the elderly women dancing in the public square downstairs by throwing feces at them -- after throwing coins and rubble into the noisy crowd proved in vain.

That same month, a resident surnamed Shi from Changping District of Beijing City ran into a quarrel with his neighbors as they noisily danced around the square downstairs. He fired his double-barrel shotgun into the sky and rushed his three Tibetan mastiffs into the crowd to break it up. Shi got arrested for the illegal possession of firearms.