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Pupils dance yesterday at Yangtai Primary School in Shanghai, where more than 10 teams participated in show to promote group dances for students.

Shanghai's primary and middle school students will be putting their best feet forward in future as they take part in dance classes.

Yesterday the Shanghai Education Commission kicked off a citywide training schedule in response to the Ministry of Education's notice earlier this year that all primary and middle school students have to attend group dance classes from this semester.

At a live dancing show held at Yangtai Primary School in Baoshan District yesterday, students were divided into three age groups and presented 12 styles of dance.

Most of the melodies, be they Chinese folk songs or classic Western airs, were familiar to the students but they added their own rhythms to make traditional Chinese dances, waltzes and even hip-hop part of the program.

Teachers and schools are being encouraged to devise their own dance programs.

"We are not emphasizing the dancing skills but are concentrating on cultivating students' interests and love for dance," said Mo Fuchun, the vice commission director.

He added that group dancing could help improve communication skills.

(Shanghai Daily September 28, 2007)

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