When we were in Shanghai this time last year – our first re-visit in over 20 years – we encountered the phenomenon of dancing grannies for the first time.
Ladies of a certain age (yes, yes, I know, talk about the pot calling the kettle black) line dancing in the street instantly became one of my favourite sights. They were usually out in force in the evenings on Nanjing Lu last year, and in fairly big groups, too.
When I didn’t see any dancing seniors during our first few days here, I was a little worried (much to my family’s resigned bewilderment…oh dear, Mum is at it again…off on one of her bizarre flights of fantasy…). Between remembered fragments of news I had read before coming here + Internet searches + the wonderful links sent to me by Anita, one of my lovely readers, I have pieced together the story for you.
And what a cracker of a story it is too.
Basically, the line-dancing grannies are making too much noise.
And their neighbours are fighting back. They want less noise, and they want their parks back, freed of boom boxes and rows of dancing old ladies.
And so the government has now stepped in to regulate these clearly-in-need-of-regulation boom box seniors.
But the grannies are having none of it.
There are some unbelievable stories of clashes between neighbour and neighbour.
Shooting at them.
Setting Tibetan mastiffs on the old biddies.
Throwing pots of faeces on them.
The dancing grannies are really and truly not popular.
And now the Chinese government has come out with rules to tackle this gang of anti-social seniors. If the government has its way, there will be no more freestyle line-dancing (if you see what I mean) – it will all be regulated. Music, moves, volume, choreography – all will be decided by the government.
Here’s the link.
So yes, every time I see a group of ladies out dancing I am thrilled.
This morning, setting off early in the rain and chill to go running on the Bund, there was a small group of ladies in the local park, twirling happily away at 7 am in the cold and drizzle – music low, I have to report – issuing a volley of cheerful “Ni hao”s in reply to my greeting.
Here, take a look at the enemy.
She can dance :