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International students obsessed with Zhoushan folk dance

Updated : 2018-06-07 (ezhejiang.gov.cn)

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Six international students make up a "flea dance" team at Zhejiang Ocean University in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. [Photo from Zhejiang Ocean University]

A dance team of six international students from Zhejiang Ocean University is dedicated to learning and inheriting a type of folk dance known as "flea dance" in Zhoushan, an island city in East China's Zhejiang province.

"Flea dance", a traditional dance for celebrating harvest among Zhoushan fishermen, received its name for its flea-like dancing postures and movements. It has come under spotlight and gained more popularity since being listed as an intangible cultural heritage in the city in 2006.

The special dance performance, with its unique characteristics, aroused interest from international students currently studying and living in Zhoushan.

"The dance looks interesting," said Katyusha, a Russian student who joined the team at its early phase, "and when I was told the story behind the dance, I found the history and culture very attractive."

Their dance performances on campus and out of campus are warmly welcomed. "The dance allowed more people to know about the group of international students, which is quite helpful for us to get closer to Chinese life," Katyusha said.

An exchange student from Kyrgyzstan, whose Chinese name is Shi Jun, expressed his impression of "flea dance". "At first, I thought the dance with a string of beads around the neck was so funny," the boy said, "but when I gradually learned more about its history and culture, I was quite sure it must be a perfect approach to learn Chinese culture."

The "flea dance" team at Zhejiang Ocean University was founded in 2013 under the guidance of Sun Liang, a dance instructor. "The participation of international students is good for the global promotion of the dance," Sun thought.

Lyu Huaqing, director of the university's international school, pledged they will involve more students from abroad to take part in the folk activities and let them experience Chinese traditional culture.

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Students learn the postures and movements of "flea dance" from the instructor Sun Liang. [Photo from Zhejiang Ocean University]