|Amateur dance teachers from community schools that cater to seniors learn ballet dancing at the Shanghai Dove Dance College for the Elderly. [For China Daily]|
Qin Ruifang, a 67-year-old dance teacher in training at a community school for the elderly in Shanghai's Jinshan District, learned ballet for the very first time recently.
Since September, she has been taking one class a week at the Shanghai Dove Dance College for the Elderly. The school offers instruction in different forms of dance, including ballet, folk dance and traditional Chinese dance. Qin and her 20 or so classmates will pass on what they learn to other older dance enthusiasts in their communities.
The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission announced on Sept 9 that together with four other social institutions, the dance troupe was to be included among the city's designated colleges for seniors, to meet the diverse learning needs of senior residents and further enrich their lives after retirement.
More than 5.81 million, or 23.4 percent, of permanent Shanghai residents were age 60 or older last year, up 8.3 percentage points from 2010, according to national census results.
The institutions will provide senior residents with lessons in dance, photography, healthcare, literature and digital skills.
"Finally, enthusiasts at our community school will be able to learn something other than square dancing," said Qin, who is from the Shanyang town community school.
"The internet has widened the horizons of the elderly, and they've been wanting to learn new dance styles for years. Every time professional troupes came to give performances, their eyes glittered, and they wanted to learn those beautiful moves for themselves."
Zhao Wei, principal of the Shanghai Dove Dance College for the Elderly, said that professional dance teachers will instruct the students, who will each learn for two years and may also have the opportunity to perform.
The classes are ultimately intended to improve the overall ability of senior dance amateurs.
"Square dancing has been popular for years. This time, we invited dance teachers, doctors, and psychologists to jointly design a square dance style that improves its artistry while making it better for health," Zhao said.
"It has been included in a dance video tutorial for the elderly, the first of its kind in the country."
Zhao said that they plan to regularly show dance tutorials on TV and online to help more senior amateurs learn new styles.
The Bank of China Online College for the Elderly said that it was the first school for seniors opened by a financial institution. It mainly teaches financial management and digital skills to help them adapt to modern technologies.
"Senior residents who register for our online college sessions can apply for offline interactive classes, where they can also learn to use smartphones in different scenarios, including going to the hospital, hailing taxis, using digital maps for navigation, ordering food, making emergency calls and making payments online, to make their lives easier," said Xu Liyun, vice-general manager of the corporate financing department of the Bank of China's Shanghai branch.
Their systematic classes will also be important in helping the elderly learn about financial management of their pensions, how to use bank cards safely and how to protect their account information, she added.
(Source: China Daily)
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