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Dancing grannies demand freedom

Civilizations have risen and fallen because of aunts and grandmothers. It doesn’t matter who is “in charge.”

Do not mess with the aunts and grandmothers.


The clarification confirms a suspicion that many held all along: With up to 100 million people dancing ever-changing routines in squares across the country, state bureaucrats had little chance of imposing order on the activity.

That should bring some relief to the tens of millions of women who rely on their local dance routines for exercise and socializing. Varied in intensity and complexity, the dance routines get the body moving and the heart pumping. (China’s elderly population has a strong tradition of performing freakishly athletic feats in public, although the line dances fall on the less strenuous end of the spectrum.)

Just as important as the exercise, the daily meetups provide retirees with a chance to socialize and to gossip about their children’s jobs and love lives. Chinese families tend to eschew nursing homes, instead often inviting elderly parents and grandparents to come live with the younger generations in the city. With China’s mega-cities lacking the intimacy and familiarity of the villages many elderly citizens grew up in, line dancing can be a perfect icebreaker and social activity.


The official titles don’t matter, aunts and grandmothers hold a community together. Don’t mess with that if you want your civilization to grow.
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