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Retired Women Lead New Dance Craze in China


A group of retired women in Beijing has come together to form an unusual dance group. They meet twice a week to dance, but they also compete regularly in talent competitions and they have appeared on national television shows. Sam Beattie reports.

There is an added attraction to the entertainment tonight as college students from around China perform in a televised cheerleading competition.

The Hip-Hop Grandmas take to the stage. These hip-hop dancers range in age from 55 to 70, and they are a big hit with younger performers.

Cheerleader Li Yuehua says, "I think they are really great dancers. Even though they are older than us, they have just as much energy as we do."

Wu Yi retired at the mandatory age of 55. Bored at home, she saw hip-hop dancing on TV and thought it would be fun to try.

She is 70 and says she is active. "Those in their 70s just eat a little and watch TV, sit in front of it, say, 'What is this?' They are withering, and walk like this. But you can see I am different. I dance everyday. Life is about exercise. It makes me not only healthy, but gives me a flexible body and I do not suffer from sickness," she said.

Wu's daughter, Guo Zhe, is 48. She practices with the team on the weekends and hopes to become a full-time member when she retires from her government job. She will join a growing group of grandmothers signing up to learn how to dance hip-hop.

Numerous television appearances are making them famous.

Those new to the class say it is a better alternative to traditional Chinese exercise. Shan Yi, who is 55, says, "This really helps bring back the feeling of being young. Maybe in daily life this feeling is gradually fading away. Now we gather here to try and find it again."

Times are changing quickly in China, but these hip-hop grandmas refuse to be left behind.

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