• Dancing plague / dancing mania /choreomania / St John’s Dance / St. Vitus’ Dance

Dancing mania was a social phenomenon that occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people, sometimes thousands at a time, who danced uncontrollably and bizarrely. They would also scream, shout, sing and claim to have visions or hallucinations.

The mania affected men, women and children, who danced until they collapsed from exhaustion and sometimes even died. One of the first major outbreaks was in Aachen, Germany, in 1374, and it quickly spread throughout Europe; one particularly notable outbreak occurred in Strasbourg in 1518. Affecting thousands of people across several centuries, dancing mania became a real problem and was therefore well documented in contemporary reports. It was nevertheless poorly understood, and remedies were based on guesswork. Generally, musicians accompanied dancers, to help ward off the mania, but this tactic sometimes backfired by encouraging more to join in. There is no consensus among modern-day scholars as to the cause of dancing mania.

It is, however, understood as a mass psychogenic illness in which the occurrence of similar physical symptoms, with no known physical cause, affect a large group of people as a form of social influence.

  • Role of the music/sound

The spread of the mass dances was supported by musicians, which incited the dancers with their flutes and tambourines. The music played also a major role in the so-called counter-dances that were used for taming and healing the dancers.

Through the repetition of certain dance steps and the percussive rhythm of the music, the dancers were supposed to calm down and find back into their rhythm of life.

Some sources also report that the dancers got seduced by voices, sounds and rhythms they heard in their ears.

  • Meditation

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration single-pointed analysis, meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well being while engaging in any life activity.

  • Viral

Viral phenomena are objects or patterns able to replicate themselves or convert other objects into copies of themselves when these objects are exposed to them. This has become a common way to describe how thoughts, information and trends move into and through a human population.

  • Plague

Latin plaga ‘stroke, wound,’ probably from Greek (Doric dialect) plaga, from a base meaning ‘strike.’

  • MYTH nr. 602

There was a man, his name the was Vierscherig, who had five children, of whom the eldest were a girl named Barbara, 13 years old, a little boy, 9, and again a girl who was 7 years old. They were caught on Palm Sunday 1551 from the dancing mania, began to dance and jump whimsically and strange like no one has ever heard and seen, and in an incomprehensible way they danced day and day seven till eight hours in both breadths and length back and forth, in all corners, out of the parlor in the house, and out of the house in the parlor always jumping and spinning, so that they became barbarously tired, they snuffled and wheezed, so that no one would have been astonished if they had broke down on the spot and died. And when they could no longer stand from exhaustion they turned and troubled their heads on the earth, as if they wanted to dance on them; finally they slept for a while and lied down as if they were dead. When they awoke again, sometimes they begged for something to eat, then the started hopping and jumping again, day and night, as long as it came over them, they talked little and now and then all of them were laughing simultaneously. A priest wanted to help them overcome the addiction with spiritual encouragement, he took them nine days in his house, but it was all in vain.

  • From an Interview with Bryan Eno

And we’ve learnt not just to accept being out of control, but to enjoy it.

Yes, and to be good at it. I think surrender should be an active verb. We think of it as passive. I’m interested in the words active and passive – what if you think of it as action and passion. In other words, surrender is an active choice.

So you’ve talked about surrender as an umbrella term that encompasses four core spheres of human activity: sex, drugs or intoxicants, religion and art. All of which involve surrender.

Yes. Religion is interesting because it comes with a superstructure of belief, which I wish I could jettison.

  • Alain Platel on choreography

“Choreography” is an ugly word. Some words are just ugly,
like “choreography”.

But then … it comes from “chorea”
which is the name of an illness that affects the nervous system.
The symptoms are: 
sudden, fast, uncontrolled, hysteric movements of the body.

Strange to realize that in my work. I seem to touch the core and deep sense of this word more and more.

So, after all

I believe

it’s a very beautiful word.

In the inside there is sleeping

my secret title for the act of moving


spending, paying out, outlay, use, disbursement, doling out, waste, wasting, frittering (away), dissipation