A group of 500 female enthusiasts dance to pop music as a show during the launching ceremony for the 2017 Mighty Square Dancing Championship on Wednesday in Beijing.
A national square dancing championship aims to help the exercise craze among senior citizens shake off its poor reputation by organizing competitions in more than 500 cities over six months.
About 2,500 teams from 25 provinces have signed up to compete in the local preliminaries of the 2017 Mighty Square Dancing Championship between April and June.
The 10 best performers will battle it out for the Mighty Dancing Diva Trophy in the national final, which will be held in Beijing on Nov 8, organizers said on Wednesday.
Developed as a positive form of exercise, Chinese square dancing has become extremely popular among senior citizens, especially older women.
But its noisy music and participants" reckless occupation of public grounds has sparked complaints in recent years.
The pictures of Chinese grannies dancing regardless of passers-by at iconic sites such as New York"s Sunset Park and in front of the Louvre in Paris have made headlines overseas.
Fitness trainer and choreographer, Wang Guangcheng believed the championship, which will see participants compete in safe and appropriate locations, will help improve the profile of square dancing toward a healthy and regulated exercise.
"With proper regulation and organized competition such as the Mighty championship, square dancing could maximize its positive impact of encouraging more senior citizens to exercise more and live a healthier life," Wang said at the launch of the championship on Wednesday.
Arthur Cao, an executive with competition sponsor Standard Foods, said square dancing promotion of a healthy lifestyle was in line with the company"s commitment to provide healthy, quality foods.
As part of a mass fitness event, 31,697 grannies from across China danced to pop music at landmark squares in six Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, on May 21, 2016, smashing the Guinness World Record for the largest choreographed square dance.
This year's championship is expected to involve more than 25,000 square dancing enthusiasts through October.