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China orders square dancers to walk the line

Media captionThe BBC's Beijing team often stumble upon a Guang Chang Wu - roughly translated as 'Public Square Dance'.

Chinese officials say they will introduce guidelines to regulate square-dancing in the country.

The dance is wildly popular with elderly Chinese women and is performed en masse at night in public squares.

However, Chinese authorities say the "over-enthusiasm of participants has dealt it a harmful blow, with disputes over noise and venues".

Fitness authorities plan to introduce 12 authorised routines and also permissible times and music volume.

The chief of the General Administration of Sport's Mass Fitness Department, Liu Guoyong, told the state-run China Daily newspaper that following complaints officials would "have to guide it with national standards and regulations".

There are thought to be millions of enthusiasts across the country, mostly elderly women - who have been dubbed "dancing grannies".

The use of public space for the exercise has led to tensions boiling over. In 2013, Wuhan residents made headlines after they showered faeces on a group of boisterous "dancing grannies".

Image caption The "dancing grannies" will now be subject to state regulation

The new guidelines on choreography will be put together by an expert panel.

"The unified drills [routines] will help keep the dancing on the right track where they can be performed in a socially responsible way," Wang Guangcheng, a fitness trainer and member of the panel, told China Daily.

The craze has even gone international - in 2014 groups were spotted dancing in front of the Louvre in Paris, and in Moscow's Red Square.

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