European Association
of American Square Dancing Clubs e.V.

Friendship is Square Dancing's greatest reward


EAASDC-Bulletin February 2011


Square Dance in China
Heidi Rittinghaus, Meenzer Mascots

In 2009 I visited for the second time in my life the People's Republic of China. This time I made the trip with a tour group consisting of German and Swedish square dancers. This trip was planned by a Swedish travel agency and took place from September 14th to October 28th in 2009.

Already on our third night in Beijing (after visiting the zoo and the Imperial Palace), we met with Chinese square dancers for dancing.

We (13 Germans and 8 Swedens) had been really looking forward to this unique experience and were thrilled about the huge hall, that had been specially hired in our honors. The 4 square dance clubs in Beijing had spared no efforts to give an unforgettable party for us. The hospitality of the Chinese people delighted us European "long-noses" as well as the never fading, friendly smile on the faces of our Chinese hosts. That evening, 21 Europeans and 80 Chinese people were dancing together.

For more than two years I was exchanging e-mails with Zhang Jian, a Chinese woman who organized this party night for us. Immediately after getting off the bus, she was welcoming us very warmly. Several other Chinese people recognized me from my last visit two years ago. I met the oldest Chinese dancer again, now a proud 87 year-old, still dancing and seemed to be still in top shape. He also welcomed me warmly and told me happily that he had recently traveled through Europe and liked it very much.

The dance night was a complete success
It was really amazing. All dancers, whether Chinese or Europeans had a lot of fun while dancing together. The Chinese hospitality also included focusing on making sure that all guests could dance all night long. Many Chinese women were dancing even the men's part to give us European women the chance to dance. Especially the fact that numerous Chinese dancers were able to participate in "Plus" dance surprised me a lot. Later we even had a "plus-round" performance.

The caller, who was originally from Taiwan, was still the one from my last visit in 2007. Delighted I found out that he immediately recognized me again. I was told very proudly that there are now a total of 10 square dance clubs existing in Beijing, all of them supported only by him, so only a single caller for 10 clubs. Beijing is according to my information the only city in China with square dance clubs.

Everybody could see how much fun the Chinese people had that night, we were all enjoying the party very much. After we said good-bye, they gave us Chinese luck charms as a present. Everybody agreed that this night meant an unforgettable great experience to us. With our help international understanding took a big step forward!

In the following days of our trip through China we danced in a park, on a ship and three nights in a hotel in southern China. The absolute highlight of our tour was the Square, which we danced at the end of our journey on the Great Wall of China.

(Part 1 Bulletin February 2009)

Transl. Nina Rittinghaus

To top