Choreomaniacs is a performative docufiction, which traces chronologically the events that marked the “dance epidemic” of the summer of 1518 in Strasbourg – a mass dystopian manifestation that affected several hundred people. The performance brings into question the way we choose to look at dance, starting from a series of testimonies of the scholars of the time, a mixture of pseudo-science, theology and medieval science-fiction and contemporary movements. The emphasis is on the way in which the spread of the epidemic was documented, the events being narrated from the perspective of the one who looks at them, never from the perspective of the one who lives them.
1518. The city of Strasbourg is on high alert. A dance epidemic breaks out in the central square of the city. Named over time “St Vitus Dance”, “Chorea Lasciva”, “Dance Mania” or “Choreomania”, the documentation of this event is as bizarre as the manifestation itself; a mixture of humoral medicine, supernatural phenomena, a little mycology and some mythology. For those who dare to skip the articles that make up the Internet buzz, the dance epidemics is strongly infused with the ideas of the Christian Church of the late Middle Ages. The few contemporary researchers who studied it classified the event as mass hysteria, and some dance theorists even called it an early manifestation of choreopolitics. This dystopian event became historical information through the visions of those who had a voice in the community at the time (clergy, local authorities, theologians, chroniclers). In the absence of any testimony from a choreomaniac, the cause of this epidemic remains simple speculation, one which has gradually turned into historical truth.
Concept & choreography Simona Deaconescu
Performing & text Vera Cirlugea, Adrian Popita, Robert Popa, Diana Dragu, Laura Murariu
Music Vlaicu Golcea
Light design Alexandros Raptis
Production management Laura Trocan
August 2020 @ The National Center for Dance in Bucharest
PRODUCERS & SPONSORS
Produced by The National Center for Dance Bucharest
Part of the series “Dance me to the End of… (exercises, distances, approaches)”. The project is co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The project does not necessarily represent the position of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project, nor the manner in which the results of the project can be used. All these are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the grant.