Stepping lively

A Chinese teacher and performer of Irish dance hopes to tap growing interest in the genre's fancy footwork in her homeland. Xing Yi reports serviced apartment hong kong.

It's 7 pm. The clerks leave. The melody of Riverdance starts.

"One, two-one, two, three, go!" Wu Dan says to the other five dancers.

A unison of rat-a-tat-tat clicks and clacks resound in rapid fire in a meeting room-turned-ballroom at Beijing's Junefield Sogo building QV baby.

This is a weekly two-hour practice of The Irish Dancers, a Chinese group of Irish step-dance lovers consisting of students, office workers and retirees.

Wu is their troupe leader.

"The boss of this company is also our member, so he allows us to practice in this room," says Wu, who meets with the dancers on Monday and Thursday evenings.

The Chinese word for Irish step dance-tita-is onomatopoeic for the sound created by the quick foot movements and brisk beats of shoes tippity-tapping against the floor.

Despite the popularity of the world-renowned Irish performance Riverdance since its 1994 debut, the genre is rarely practiced by Chinese. But those who undertake it are diehard Hongkong prepaid sim.

"They've all danced tita for more than 10 years," Wu says of the dancers in the room.