27 October 2016
A video of a group of Chinese women dancing merrilly on the deck of an international cruise liner has gone viral. Photo: YouTube
A video of a group of Chinese women dancing merrilly on the deck of an international cruise liner has gone viral. Photo: YouTube

China’s dancing damas strut their stuff on cruise ship

China’s square dancers have earned notoriety over the years as they take over public places and perform choreographed routines to the accompaniment of loud music.

The dancing “damas” have faced complaints that they disturb the peace and quiet of neighborhoods, prompting authorities in some cities to impose regulations on such activities.

But the criticism hasn’t unfazed the middle-aged dancers, who consider their group performances as artistic as well as healthy exercises.

Meanwhile, supporters argue that square dancing represents a key aspect of Chinese culture and that it should be encouraged, and not frowned upon.

Well, among those who seem to think that the dancing aunties are a joy is an international cruise operator, going by a video clip doing the rounds on social media.

In the video, a group of Chinese women can be seen dancing in unison on the deck of a luxury cruise liner, drawing bemused looks from an audience of largely Western tourists.

According to James Hong Ming-sang, who captured the performance and uploaded it onto the internet, the dance took place on a vessel operated by Royal Caribbean International. 

Hong, who is a former senior marketing executive with Sony Computer Entertainment and is now a travel writer, said the event on the cruise ship might as well have been billed as “the greatest square dancing performance of the universe”.

“Even the Caribbean pirates won’t be able to stand up to the fearsome Chinese damas,” he wrote in a lighter vein in a Facebook post

After watching the video, netizens had mixed reactions, judging by the comments posted on social media.

Some said that they felt sorry for the tourists as “eccentric” Chinese ladies might have ruined their holiday with the noisy performance, while others argued that the Chinese damas had provided good entertainment.

According to an Apple Daily report, a person who was on the cruise ship at that time said the group dancing event was arranged by the tour operator.

The 30-minute dance routine and music was a regular daily activity offered on the cruise ship, he said.

A netizen noted that the cruise operator may have been trying to please the Chinese tourists on the ship.

Anyway, it’s not the first time that Chinese middle-aged women had performed on a cruise liner. According to reports, some damas had earlier danced on a Costa cruise vessel, performing to the beat of a hit song.

Translation by Chloe Chow

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