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Residents' relief as line dancers 'silenced'
From:Shine  |  2021-04-07 20:27

Over 100 line dancers at asquare in Anting Town perform "in silence" to music relayed through their earphones.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The FM transmitter plays the music to their ears.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A small radio carries the same music to people who watch the dance, but it's not loud at all.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Over 100 line dancers dance on the square of the Old Street of Anting Town in Jiading District on Tuesday afternoon, with music through their headsets instead of through loud stereo boxes.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Line dancing is a popular activity with retirees in China, but loud music played in public places has long been the subject of complaints from nearby residents.

InnorthwesternShanghai, the problem has now been addressed.

Dancing grannies in colorful costumes have long been a feature at a square inAnting Town’s Old Street inJiadingDistrict. But instead of loud music, they now seem to dance in silence.

In fact, the music is played to them via earphones.

DouXiangxin, leader of a 200-strong dance group called “Jack” after his Internet nickname, sought to put an end to noisy line dancing earlier this year after tensions between dancers and residents escalated.

Line dancers usually dance in street parks or public squares in residential complexes, and often in groups of more than 100. It’s impossible to not upset other people since the music has to be loud enough for the last person in the line to hear clearly. The problem gets worse when a few groups dance alongside each other to different music, with each group having its music as loud as possible.

“We were looking for a solution that makes line dancing no longer a trouble to other people, however many dancers are gathered in the same place,” Dou said.

Dousought advice from an acquaintance,ShiFaming, a native ofAnhuiProvince who organizes line dancing inAnhuiand Shanghai and is also an amateur radio enthusiast.

Shi’ssolution is a portable FM transmitter and an antenna. It works like a small radio station. The transmitter can be connected to a mobiledevice to play music. A larger transmitter allows transmission to places as far as five kilometers away.

The dancers wear FM headsets adjusted to receive the same frequency at which the transmitter is set, so the music is only played in their ears.

“We have looked at different choices and think the headsets with earplugs instead of headphones are better, because they don’t affect our dancing movements and are not a problem in hot weather,”Shisaid.

A large transmitter costs about 800 yuan (US$122), while a smaller one costs half as much. The headsetsDou’sdance group members bought cost 45 yuan each.

Dou’sdance group members welcomed the solution.

“Previously, when we danced alongside other groups, we often couldn’t hear our music clearly, but now it’s no longer a problem,” saidShenXingjuan, a 62-year-old Xiangyangvillage resident.

Shen, who leads a small group ofsome 30dancers, said they don’t wear earphones when learning their dance moves, but do when they perform for others.

“The first time we performed with our earphones on, I was really worried that we might not deliver as well as before, but it turned out that we danced just as well,” she said.

Lu Julian, 50, another member of the group, said they used to get complaints from residents every day, but now no longer.

“The earphones work really well, and even in the hottest summer they won’t be a problem because line dancing doesn’t draw a lot of sweat,” she said.

To enable people watching the dancers to hear the music, Douoften plays it through a small radio, but it no longer has to be played loud because even the dancer farthest away has the music in their ears.

Shisaid that “silent” line dancing is soon to be introduced inFengxian District and other areas.