– DANCING PLAGUE –
Facilitated by Lea Martini and Anne-Mareike Hess @ skogen
13 – 18th of January
10.00 – 16.00 daily
Public presentation on the 18th at 19.00.
Dancing mania – also known as dancing plague, choreomania, St John’s Dance and, historically, St. Vitus’ Dance – 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 therefor 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.
With the workshop Dancing Plague we would like to start-off an experiment on the capacities of human bodies.
Dealing mainly with the notion of infectiousness and surrendering, we ponder: How could we possibly start a collective movement that could potentially be communicable, transmittable, transferable, spreadable, contagious and ultimately epidemic all at once?
We will offer our bodies as hosts of something other than ourselves, something that we can’t control. A viral self, capable to transmit its voice, shape and its strength from one body to the proximate one.
Influences from dance meditations, clubbing, excessive speaking, the 5 rhythm dance, meditation, breath work and shared phantasmagorias will be the fertile ground for a daily durational practise that grows into a public presentation in the end of the workshop.
We will treat the theatre space of Skogen as an incubation site’ for contagious cultivation. How can we provide the right conditions in which all these major and expansive movements take place within the limits of our seeable body?
DANCING PLAGUE as a claim for the erasure of the limits that divide audience and performers, movement and dance, as a call for less immunity on all levels.
Li Molnar Kronlid