While the sun rises at about a quarter to eight on a winter morning, the old ladies who live nearby gather and are ready to start their day by dancing and practising taichi at Green Lake Park (翠湖公园) in the centre of Kunming. Many youngsters nowadays may not understand the obsession these ladies have for dancing in public areas, but the tradition is decades old.
Over the following decades, ballroom dancing — seen as a symbol of Western culture — gradually vanished from China. However, in the 1980s, as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution subsided, and the reform and opening period began to unfold, people started to seek out entertainment activities to reconnect themselves with society. In such a comparatively loose cultural and political environment, there was a trend of people starting to dance again.
This took place all over China, not only in ballrooms, but also in public areas such as parks and squares. While some retired people actively learned from the younger generation who voluntarily came to learn and sometimes teach, others were too shy to take part, and instead just watched. Now, retired people in Kunming gather everyday at Green Lake Park for recreation, health and community.