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Portrait of an amateur Waltz dancer

Updated: 2013-10-01 23:56
( China Daily)

Portrait of an amateur Waltz dancer

Peng Zhiwei works at a construction site in Changsha, capital of Central China‘s Hunan province. Photos by Zhang Yinyu / for China Daily

In mud-stained shoes and worn-out blue jeans, Peng Zhiwei is busy setting steel frames for a construction site in Changsha, Hunan province. The 43-year-old construction worker continues laboring on this rainy day to earn some extra money. After a hard day‘s work, he takes a shower, changes clothes and arrives at a dancing club near the city‘s west bus station. You can hardly recognize the man as the same Peng, now wearing a clean T-shirt, tailored trousers and black leather shoes.

Peng‘s first encounter with dancing happened in 1990 when he served in the army. The then 20-year-old solider was mesmerized by the dancing performance staged during a party, which prompted him to take up dancing classes ever since.

After leaving the army, Peng changed several jobs from being a forest ranger to driver and construction worker, but his interest in dancing remains.

“I‘m fond of dancing. It‘s not for making money. A migrant construction worker like me should have a hobby like everyone else,“ he said.

Peng practices dancing for one hour every day after work. But the daily commuting time he spends on the road to the dancing club takes two hours.

He has mastered more than a dozen varieties of dances including waltz, tango, cha-cha and rumba. His favorite is waltz.

Through dancing, Peng makes many friends. Among them are a civil servant, a university professor and a private business owner.

“No matter your social status, the only thing that matters at the ballroom is your dancing skills,“ he said.

His present dancing partner is a teacher. She does not know Peng is a migrant construction worker.

Peng‘s home is in a small village of Yichun, Jiangxi province, where only his parents live. His wife works as a migrant worker in Liuyang, Hunan province. His son is also a migrant worker in Dongguan, Guangdong province.

“Many people think migrant workers are rough people. But I dance waltz and can dance very well,“ he said.

Not all 240 million farmers-turned-migrant-workers nationwide spend their leisure time meaningfully like Peng. Most of them while away their time playing poker or strolling on streets.

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