The Dancing Plague is a well-known phenomenon. The most famous occurrence was the Dancing Plague of 1518. It happened in France in July of that year. Frau Troffea stopped one day in a street in the town of Strasbourg. Suddenly, unexpectedly and randomly, she started dancing. Non-stop for six days. No sleep, no food – no anything, really. After seven days, 34 other people had joined in. After four weeks, over 100 people were there, all dancing. A large number of these people died from exhaustion, stroke or heart attack. They danced themselves to death. And this is just one example of many around the world. To this day, nobody quite knows why it started or why it stopped. We know from historical records that all the dancers on all these occasions demonstrated a level of unconsciousness. Some were rude and others were naked. Many were aggressive and others ‘bumped uglies’. How one could do that whilst dancing is anyone’s guess. They jumped and leapt, and didn’t stop until they dropped. They were noted for having a really aggressive reaction to the colour red, they couldn’t even perceive it. It made them violent. These dancers experienced an unparalleled state of ecstasy. Why did all this happen? Some argue it was all staged. Others thought that it started with a madman, others copied and it spread like a contagion. And others still thought it was evil spirits. It sounds like an episode of Scooby Doo. Some mysterious force causing you to dance. It’s ridiculous. For me, dancing myself to death would be quite possibly the worst way to die. And that is simply because I cannot stand dancing.
Dancing is said to improve discipline, focus and success. It’s also said to improve concentration, coordination, agility and flexibility, and reduce stress levels. It’s also meant to be grand for your physical state. But I don’t think any of this explains why nearly 120 thousand people set the world record for the longest conga line in 1988 in Miami. Or the longest on ice, 250 in 2011 in New Hampshire. Or why Mike Ritof and Edith Boudreaux hold the world record for the longest dancing session, 5,154 hours and 48 minutes. Over 214 days, and all they got was $2,000 and very sore feet. Or why nearly 7,000 tap dancers broke the world record for the largest single routine ever by a bojangle of tap dancers. I don’t know what you call a group of tap dancers, so I’ve just coined the term ‘bojangle’…
Dancing is… strange. I don’t dance. I’ve never danced and you couldn’t get me to dance even if you paid me in chocolate and fairy dust. Not a euphemism, I already have plenty of that anyway. Kidding. Of course. Stay in school, blah, blah, blah. I’m very shy so I struggle to be expressive. I’ve turned down offers to dance because I just didn’t want to embarrass myself. I have many inhabitations and nobody on the planet is ever gonna be able to strip them away. It’s a defence mechanism against craziness. The whole notion of getting up in public to do anything, let alone dancing, makes me a tad queasy. I’ve never had an urge to dance. Even when I’m in a private room by myself, I just can’t manage it. I’ve genuinely never danced. I’ve never been to a nightclub or a concert of any kind. I’ve never been on a date, and I presume a ‘slow dance’ is still on the cards. It certainly was in the olden days, usually with Unchained Melody playing in the background. What? I’m old-fashioned, leave me alone. No, dancing is a strange and mysterious world to me. I just cannot see any point to it. I’ll probably never do it. Because I have yet to take leave of my senses.
But what are your thoughts on dancing, readers?
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