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The most popular online dance in China isn't even a dance

TikTok is spawning a string of popular dances, some of which don’t actually involve dancing

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

The most popular dance in China is on short video sensation TikTok. But it doesn’t involve throwing your limbs around, shaking your rear, or any of that stuff. For this dance, all you need are fingers.

TikTok, the viral short video sensation, has its roots in China

The so-called “gesture dance” has become the single most popular dance on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, according to a new data report published by parent company ByteDance.

What does it mean? It means fingers. Lots of fingers.

Not particularly visually pleasing but better than a finger in the eye. (Picture: TikTok)
Truth be told, it's not that dancing with fingers is unique to China – both the Chinese and the international versions of TikTok went crazy for a  hand dance that originally appeared in PUBG. But this dance comprises of different gestures, each of which has a meaning. And it's quite old actually: Music videos in China started incorporating certain gestures from sign language to convey the message a long time ago.

And thus – a really boring dance was created!

It’s the grandma dance. (Picture: Youtube)

Of course, in recent years, the gesture dance has had some upgrades from hot local celebrities – which helped it become viral on TikTok. And it has also taken inspiration from South Korea, where K-Pop fans have been expressing love with the popular finger heart made by crossing the thumb and index finger.

All that means the gesture dance now rules China’s online culture. There is even a TikTok user that created something called " Gesture Dance of Chinese Traditional Studies" to help kids learn about traditional poetry, because why learn from books when someone can teach you with a finger dance?
The report also features other popular dances on the Chinese version of TikTok, many of which are popular across the world. There's the so-called walking dance tuned to a  Drake hit and used to bewilder cranky airplane passengers.
Dude, I just wanna catch my flight, stay away from me. (Picture: TikTok)

Still, that’s not as weird as the “smashing the garlic” dance, called that because… well, just look for yourself.

This was actually meant to be a sexy dance but… that didn’t pan out too well. (Picture: TikTok)
And there’s also the “tapping dust off your shoulder” dance to the beat of a Kazakh  EDM hit, which was taken a bit too literally by some users.
I’m definitely enjoying this dance. (Picture: TikTok)

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.