- A Chinese school principal has introduced a daily 30-minute shuffle dance routine for his students and staff.
- They perform it every day, and a video showing a clip of the routine has gone viral.
- The principal introduced the dance to replace the daily callisthenics-based workout which is compulsory in Chinese schools.
Many parents and teachers are concerned about children’s inactivity, but not all know what can be done about it.
One school principal, however, came up with a creative solution.
Zhang Pengfei, the 40-year-old headmaster of Xi Guan Primary School in northern China, decided to ignore the government’s recommended daily exercise programme and get his students moving by teaching them a modern dance routine.
The headmaster and about 700 pupils of the school in Linyi County, in the province of Shanxi, now perform the 30-minute routine every day at breaktime.
And when a video of the dance was uploaded to social media, it swiftly went viral.
The shuffle-based dance is called “guibu,” which means “ghost steps.”
Since 1951, primary, middle, and high schools in China have been required to ensure pupils undertake a strict “broadcast callisthenics” workout every day, which is based on exercises performed by soldiers during World War Two and inspired by routines used in the former Soviet Union, according to the South China Morning Post.
The workout involves instructions which are blared out over loud speakers, telling the pupils and teachers to perform various movements designed to improve strength, agility, flexibility, teamwork, and fitness. Government ministers reportedly even carry out inspections to check schools are enforcing the workout.
But Zhang has decided to break with tradition, with pupils and staff members performing the dance routine since October.
Dancing school principal becomes viral sensation.
This man started to teach pupils shuffle dance about two months ago. Now all 700+ students at Xiguan Primary School in Shanxi, China have been practicing the dance moves pic.twitter.com/cc9g2SoA4p
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 23, 2019
“I wanted to introduce the [shuffle] dance… because the students and [teachers] had no interest at all in the broadcast callisthenics,” he told Southern Metropolis News, according to South China Morning Post.
The principal says he first discovered the routine at a public square last summer, and decided to learn it himself.
“I thought the dance would be great for kids,” Zhang explained. “The music is full of energy and it really gets the happy feeling flowing.”
He never imagined the video would provoke so much interest across the world though – a page on Chinese social media site Weibo has reveived over 250 million views, according to the Mail Online.
“This is just a small activity at our school – I just wanted to offer a different way to exercise during the class break,” Zhang said.
Childhood obesity is on the rise in China. It’s estimated that 28% of Chinese children will be classified as obese or overweight by 2030, according to Peking University’s School of Public Health.
Zhang’s introduction of a daily dance routine may be a step in the right direction, though.
“Now the students aren’t constantly on their phones,” he said. “I sometimes catch them watching different dance routine videos and learning new moves.”
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