Thursday, July 01, 2010

Shanghai Paramount

Shanghai Paramount was built in the 1930s. It has undergone many changes. Today it is a popular modern dance hall with well-preserved old-time charm of  "Night Shanghai" where Ballroom dancers congregate. You can come along with your dancing partner or hire one. Guys can hire hostesses clad in shimmery sequined Qipaos by the hour. According to some writers they are called Taxi-Dancers. Ladies can hire male dance partners. I have no idea what they are called. Here in Singapore they are known as DIs (Dance Instructors) . They are also referred to as "Ducks" in the ballroom dancing circle.

Due to time constraint and my wife undergoing her knee treatment by the TCM doctor we didn't go dancing there as I have wished. But we had to at least pay a visit. Too bad it was past 4pm in the afternoon and the Tea Dance session have ended. There were two couples on the dance floor; one gentleman practically with two left feet being led by a hostess dressed in Qipao doing the Rumba and a lady with a DI dancing the Waltz. You may be wondering how on earth can they be dancing to two different beats. Ah, yes that's the wonder of the dancing world. You see, instead of waiting for the correct music which would be a waste of time, the professional dance partners will just make the best use of the time adapting the dance to the music. After all patrons pay by the hour. A band plays at night so it is likely to attract a bigger crowd.

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