The Dancing Aunties

Anyone who has been to China will be familiar with the 阿姨 aunties and 奶奶 nainais (grandma)who regularly gather in plazas, apartment complexes, and parks each night to dancersize…. dance exercise.
Loud, often pumping music reverberating from a portable sound system blasts into the night as armies of aunts dance in rhythm.
Recently, there’s been much talk on the Chinese internet about this – some see it as great, some as a problem when the  奶奶 nainais take over  a space and residents can’t sleep, or shoppers can’t park!
These women are of an age that has been through China’s great social upheavals – the Cultural Revolution amongst them, and they view public spaces as just that – public spaces.
Some of them have a social conscience –
Dancing Aunties and Grandmas caution against consumerism

– in Sichuan a group held up placards and advised viewers to be careful about the new iPhone 6, whilst dancing to popular children’s song Little Apple.


Others prefer to use their organised power to go shopping and drive hard bargains, whilst for some, “Plaza dancing” has been taken to a new level. recently in Sichuan, whilst waiting for hours in a traffic jam, a group of aunties and grandmothers got out of their car for an impromptu dance meeting.

Aunties dancing during traffic jam
The Aunties – or 大妈 da ma  – Big Mother – as they are also called in Chinese – have used their buying power to drive hard bargains when they shop, and have begun to travel together.
Dancing Aunties travel to Russia, dance in Red Square, and get ushered away by Russian police!
Netizens are talking about the phenomena – though it should be noted that the likely demographic of people commenting about this on the internet are  likely to be under 30 somethings. So the comments about the annoying older generation should be seen in that context.
Here’s a taste:
” damn, it looks like a cult”
“children, take your mothers home”
“the universe can no longer stop the dance steps of the aunties”
The Chinese Ministry of Sports probably thinks its a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them”, as they have recently announced standardised moves to a very popular children’s song , “Little Apple”. Yes – its a song which the aunties dance to.
Fitness Trainer Wang Guangcheng with a dancing Grandma
Netizens comments are mostly supportive, noting that the standardized movements aren’t compulsory, and that they have been devised by professionals to assist calisthenics and to improve health
Dancing Aunties on a sleep train to Dalian take over the aisle until Railway officials come into stop them – other passengers wanted to sleep.
The Universe can no longer stop the power of the Dancing Aunties!
Photographs care of China Daily online, China News online.
Grammatical Note:  In China, addressing other people – whether known or strangers – relational words are used. Thus, an older woman would be addressed as Auntie, whereas a very older woman would be addressed as Grandma. They are terms of respect.