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Students to Dance Without Touching
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Dancing is compulsory for elementary and high-school students in the new semester, but hugging is not on the curriculum.

The Ministry of Education has introduced dancing at schools nationwide in order to tackle obesity among students.

But it has taken into account the feelings of students by cutting out some dance moves that trials showed caused the youngsters embarrassment.

Typical of this was a school in Guangzhou that found hugging left its pupils red and sweaty with embarrassment.

"Dancing partners only need to hold hands and boy students won't touch partners' waists in the new version of group dancing," Tan Kun, a dance teacher with Guangzhou Guangya High School, said.

Tan is one of the teachers responsible for choreographing suitable group dances for high-school students, which were introduced at the start of the new semester on Saturday.

Shanghai dance teachers have choreographed dances for elementary school students, Beijing teachers for junior-high-school students, and Guangdong Province teachers for senior high-school students.

Parents have been concerned that group dancing might cause their children to have too early an interest in the opposite sex and neglect their studies.

"In the new versions of group dancing for junior-high-school students, they will have to change partners and the time and frequency for hand holding has been taken into consideration," Tan said.

"I don't think such dances will lead to puppy love."

Chen Miaoyuan, a high-school student from Guangzhou Guangya High School and one of the 43 group-dance trialists, said holding hands while dancing was natural and love was not on his mind.

"The group dancing is a good way to express emotions and good for health," Chen said. "I have lost about 8 kg during my trial dancing over the past few months."

Mai Qilu, another trialist from the same high school, said group dancing was graceful.

"Dancing together it is natural to hold hands and dancers can learn to be elegant, like at a party," Mai said.

Group dancing is a healthy means of communication, said Chen Gengxin, a psychology lecturer with South China Normal University.

The lecturer said group dancing aided students in keeping fit, helped students overcome feelings of shyness and improved their sociability, adding that with the correct guidance group dancing should be encouraged nationwide.

(China Daily September 7, 2007)

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