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Steppin' lively, having a ball

By Amanda Reiter  (China Daily)

09:43, November 14, 2011

Top: Dance students test their moves around a ballroom. Bottom: Instructor Ken Wyland takes other class members though their paces. (Feng Yongbin / China Daily)

Expatriates are getting ready for the season of social dances, and Amanda Reiter follows the music of Strauss and Mozart across the ballroom.

Five men stand, arms fold across their chests, shoulders scrunch up. Six women nervously smile, their eyes fixate on the floor.

They seem to be transported back in time to a high school dance, unsure if they are making the right moves. But that is precisely why they are gathered on the second floor of the Sino-Chu Wine Club in Beijing.

Most of the students are planning to attend the German Ball, the first of many expatriate balls this season, and they need to learn or relearn the basics of ballroom dancing. The four approximately hourlong dance classes are meant as weekly pre-ball intensive training.

'Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow'

Despite dance being part of the curriculum for many Germans during their formative years, Philipp Stiebeling needs a refresher course on the basics. The German native decides to come to class this particular evening even though his dance partner for the ball has a prior engagement.

"I'm not sure I'll make it to the dance floor," Stiebeling says. "I might be too embarrassed."

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