Morning exercises to Dunhuang Dance: What are the students dancing for?

2020-11-06 22:00 1839

BEIJING, Nov. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by on China's radio calisthenics innovation:

A video of students in school uniforms "dancing" on the playground has recently gone viral.

This impressive scene takes place in a middle school in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu province. During their morning break, the whole school would do radio calisthenics, and the "Dunhuang Dance" they were doing, is called the "Dance of Beautiful Dunhuang." This original set of exercise incorporates Dunhuang Dance and calisthenics, with different moves for boys and girls. The graceful and gentle moves for girls originate in the classic images of flying apsaras in the Dunhuang murals; while the boys' moves are more masculine and are inspired by the images of divine warriors. The dance routine has been performed in this school for five years.

Radio calisthenics may be unfamiliar to some. In fact, the exercise originates in western countries. With no special venue or equipment required, this group workout is both easy to learn and suitable for young and old alike. Today, it is still practiced in countries such as Japan and China.

Radio calisthenics first appeared in China in the 1950s. At that time, the country had only recently emerged from war, and both its economy and people's physical fitness were under-developed. The average life expectancy at the time was less than 40 years. Promoted by the Chinese government, radio calisthenics, which can help people keep fit and is also enjoyable, soon became popular all across the country. Nowadays, although people's physical fitness in China has greatly improved, radio calisthenics has remained a constant fixture, especially in elementary and middle schools. As students in the same school share the schedule, the morning exercises have become an efficient workout. They not only help students develop a habit of exercising, but also help them "recharge their batteries" during breaks outside of P.E. lessons and sports activities.

Over time, radio calisthenics in China has become more than just a way to improve physical fitness. The Dance of Beautiful Dunhuang in that middle school helps showcase the local culture. In Inner Mongolia, a middle school has adapted Mongolian folk dance into radio calisthenics. And another school in Gansu province performs waist drum dances during its class break. Radio calisthenics has clearly become a new way of carrying forward traditional culture. In addition, radio calisthenics today puts more attention on having fun. Back in 2019, a school principal in Shanxi province taught his pupils to shuffle dance to help more students participate and fall in love with exercise.

Whether it is the Dunhuang Dance, waist drum performance, or shuffle dancing, what remains unchanged under the new forms of radio calisthenics is the great importance China places in helping its people keep fit.

China Mosaic

Morning exercises to Dunhuang Dance: What are the students dancing for?

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