Dance me to the end of love

From the BBC website:

  • China takes steps to curb passion
  • China is changing the way it runs compulsory dance classes, introduced to tackle child obesity, because parents fear their children may fall in love.
  • Sports officials say they will now encourage students to dance in large groups or by themselves.
  • Some parents had expressed fears that if boys and girls danced hand in hand they might fall in love and put their studies at risk.”

Now I have ranted previously on the strange way that the concept of “falling in love” gets portrayed as an instantaneous event (see this and this). But seriously, folks, if it was this easy, every thirtysomething female with the incessant sound “tick-tock” in her ear would head to the local Arthur Murray studio and go home happy.

Note: if you have not heard Madeleine Peyroux sing Dance me to the End of Love, go find it–it’s worth the effort.

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5 responses to “Dance me to the end of love

  1. Oh come on. The Chinese Government and/or more traditionally-minded parents in China aren’t afraid of kids falling in love over a dance. They’re concerned that the ballroom dance plans – which had kids assigned to the same dance partners over a longer period of time – would lead to babies. When you think of how little contact your average Chinese middle-schooler has with the opposite sex otherwise, add on a rising problem with teenage pregnancy as kids who don’t get sex ed and don’t understand find new ways to meet, and then consider how cutthroat and important the competition for education is in those critical years (not to mention population pressures and the one-child policy), it is a legitimate concern.

    You’ll note in that article they’re still having the classes, just changing partners every waltz… because they *don’t* actually believe a dance equals falling madly in love.

  2. notfromaroundhere

    I didn’t say it, the BBC did! I’m just regurgitating their words and making fun of them accordingly!

    In fact, if dance class did directly lead to a risk of babies, my thirty-something single female friends would be even *more* inclined to head for Arthur Murray studios!

    How is the solution not some degree of sex-ed in the schools instead of trying to keep the sexes from mingling? It seems as though they are just creating more of a forbidden fruit mentality with this sort of attitude.

  3. There is a desperate need for sex ed, I agree. (And it should be obvious that the pregnancy connection is specific to the situation in Chinese middle and high schools, cutsy throwaway lines about American 30-somethings notwithstanding.) In getting your laughs, though, you are conveniently leaving out the critical part of the article:

    “Administration official Yin Guochen told the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post: ‘The [children] don’t have to dance with specific partners, which will be more easily accepted by both students and their parents.

    ‘Four students will be grouped together to perform the waltz and they will change partners regularly as soon as one song finishes. This way, the risk of young love will be lowered.’ ”

    Obviously they are not committing your pet peeve, that is, treating “falling in love as an instantaneous event.” If that was the case, there would be no dance classes at all – not simply a reduction in the time spent with each partner.

  4. You know, now that I think about it, the real question here is not whether ballroom dancing leads to love, but whether it actually leads to weight loss. Why not have Chinese middle schoolers run laps?

  5. In my experience, “falling in love” seems to occur over the entire range of exposure periods. One couple friend met on the Puerto Rican beach on a brief vacation in 1962 and got married 3 days later, now they are still married, both have doctorates, and the wife is a dean at Georgetown University. On the other extreme, my sister grew up with a boy in every school class from age 4 through high school, plus church every Sunday, and got engaged at age 21. Only took 17 year, we didn’t even really know that they had started dating seriously.

    I agree that it is better, of course, for love to develop over a longer time because it is easier to recognize the friendship aspects as opposed to instant infatuation. But I have indeed seen those instant romances that last.

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