These videos show televised dance performances by humans, not ‘robot dancers’

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Two videos have been viewed hundreds of times after they circulated in multiple Facebook posts that claim they show lifelike robot dancers made in China performing at an event in Shanghai. However, the claim is false; both videos feature human dancers. One video shows Chinese acrobatic dancers while the other shows a ballet performance in China by students from a dance school based in the United States.

One video, which shows an acrobatic dance performance, was shared on Facebook here on April 1, 2022.

Part of the post’s Indonesian-language caption translates to English as: “Beautiful Chinese dance broadcast from a Shanghai park. They are not skilled dancers, but robots created by China.

“The performance is only about five minutes, but the queue to buy a ticket takes four hours and the ticket price is 499 yuan (one million rupiah).”

The alleged ticket price of 499 yuan, or renminbi, is equivalent to $74.50.

Screenshot of the first misleading post, taken on May 18, 2022

The three-minute video has been viewed more than a hundred times after it was also shared alongside similar claims elsewhere on Facebook here, here and here.

Another video, which shows a group ballet performance, was shared on Facebook here on July 10, 2020.

The three-minute, 53-second video has been viewed more than 350 times.

The post’s Indonesian-language caption partly translates to English as: “This classical dance was just created in China and displayed at Shanghai Disneyland. They are not female dance artists but robots made in China. The show is only about five minutes, but the queue for tickets takes four hours and the price of a ticket is 499 yuan, equivalent to 1,000,500 rupiah.”

Screenshot of the second misleading post, taken on May 18, 2022

The footage has been viewed more than 200 times after it circulated alongside a similar claim between 2019 and 2022 on Facebook here, here and here.

However, the claims about both videos are false.

first video

Keyword searches found this longer video uploaded to Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, on January 2, 2021.

The video was uploaded by an account of an acrobatics TV program from Guangdong Radio and Television, a state-controlled broadcaster in China’s Guangdong province.

Part of the post’s Chinese-language caption translates to English as: “Liu Xiao, an 18-year-old girl from the Xi’an Zhanshi Zhanqi Acrobatic Troupe, rises into the air hanging by her hair, relying solely on a lock of her hair to perform a beautiful dance in the air.”

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video on Weibo (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video on Weibo (right)

Another performance by Liu was published here by CCTV, China’s state-owned TV station, on September 5, 2021.

Second video

Keyword searches found this video, uploaded to Youku, a Chinese video platform, on May 26, 2019.

The video was uploaded by the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, a state-controlled TV and radio broadcaster in China’s Jiangsu province.

It shows a performance on a TV program aired by the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, titled “Beyond Show”.

The videos Chinese-language title translates to English as: “MorningStar Dance Academy of Atlanta performs the ‘folding fan ballet’, a Chinese style ballet, which shows the beauty of China.”

MorningStar Dance Academy of Atlanta is a dance school based in Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video on Youku (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine video on Youku (right)

The Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation also published articles here and here about the ballet performance in May 2019.

AFP performed multiple keyword searches on the Shanghai Disneyland website and did not find any shows featuring lifelike robot dancers in its listed attractions or entertainment options.

AFP has previously debunked similar claims about “robot dancers at Shanghai Disneyland” here, here and here.

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