by Riccardo Giacomini

I can’t wait to leave my house,
go back to the streets,
among the people,
close to each other.
And dance.

About twenty years had passed from the beginning of the new century when the plague began to spread. One day, a girl simply started to dance in the street.
At first it didn’t seem to be the beginning of anything extraordinary, but after a week she was still dancing, and during that week a hundred people had joined her. The authorities were confident that the fever would break just as it had started. They were convinced that this phenomenon, like a flash in the pan, would have run out faster if it had been fueled. Therefore, they set up a wooden stage on which people could dance, they paid musicians and expert dancers to give rhythm and choreography to that feverish dance.  
After several weeks, the fluttery party hadn’t eased off and people started to die. They died of having relentlessly danced for days, without being able to stop, not even if they wanted to. After one month, there were almost half a thousand people dancing, even though they were exhausted.
Then, when too many people had died and the situation appeared to be clearly unmanageable, people were moved away from the streets and the crowd was dispersed.
The survivors, exhausted after sticking together for forty days, frantically dancing in the streets, were finally able to go back home, on their own, away from each other. And finally lie down, tired of dancing.  
The epidemic was over.
It was September 1518.

The dancing plague (or dance epidemic) was a case of collective hysteria which occurred in Strasbourg in July 1518. A young woman named Troffea kicked off the dance, and about half a thousand people joined her and frantically danced for more than a month. In August people began to die of exhaustion, but this collective hysteria did not end before early September.

March 2020