Dancing in Public Squares–Toward a Socially Synchronous Sense of Place

Enqing Tian, Nicholas Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study advances how we understand sense of place in leisure research by considering how social interactions lend to ‘lived emplacement’. Taking a behavioral geography perspective, that aligns with Social-Interaction Theory, this paper contributes to how we think about collective forms of dancing in public squares. To develop these understandings, we focus on a popular dancing activity in China, Guang-Chang-Wu 广场舞. Conceptual directions discussed in this paper challenge researchers to consider how socially synchronized dancing connects middle-aged and elderly Chinese women. Perspective and insight into sense of place, influenced by place attachment and place dependence are guided by participant desires to increase socialization and well-being. In-depth semi-structured interviews and participant observations were qualitative methods used to investigate social interactions in urban public squares. Interpretations reinforce interactions, and provide insight into unique communal characteristics and the social meanings associated with dancing in public squares. This research offers new ways of thinking about sense of place in public squares through behavioral reflections of public dancing aligned with how participants transcend space and place meanings. Considerations are also positioned alongside social and cultural change in China, which are important to the story of leisure practices in public squares.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLeisure Sciences
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Dance behavior
  • Social-Interaction Theory
  • healthy activity
  • place attachment
  • place dependence
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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