mandag 29. april 2024

The Backbend: Why a Basic Dance Move Is Paralyzing Children in China

Commonly taught in dance studios, the backbend has been linked to a surge in severe spinal injuries among young girls across the country. This alarming trend has prompted widespread calls for better regulatory frameworks and more professional training methods.

For six years now, Li Huan has worked at a school cafeteria to keep her 12-year-old daughter Qingqing in class. Though deep in debt, there’s more at stake than money: Paralyzed and wheelchair-bound after an accident in dance class, Qingqing relies entirely on her mother for mobility. “This job pays just 1,000 yuan ($140), far less than what we spend on medical expenses,” Li, 37, from Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, tells Sixth Tone. “I’m just happy the school agreed to employ me.”

Away from the cafeteria, she maneuvers Qingqing’s wheelchair through narrow hallways, up steep staircases, and past crowds of students from class to class. At home, Li juggles medical expenses and a legal battle for compensation against the dance institute.