Friday, 24 April 2020


Via Miss Cellania’s Links, we’ve also found ourselves reflecting on whatever possessed Frau Troffea to dance herself to injury and complete exhaustion one summer’s day in Strasbourg after one week of doing so compulsively and without pause, meanwhile enlisting dozens of other townspeople to join in—see previously, and had some idea that it wasn’t the best of times, even for the Holy Roman Empire of the early sixteenth century but failed to appreciate what a bad year Frau Troffea and her compatriots, dancing fools or not, were facing.
Herky-jerky with or without rhythmic accompaniment (musicians were brought in in hopes of soothing them and playing them down into a state of calm), the preeminent medical authority of the day Doctor Paracelsus, though ultimately at a loss for a diagnosis, termed the affliction Saint Vitus’ Dance (martyred by being boiled in oil for not renouncing his faith under the persecutions of Diocletian and not for loosing a dance-off to the megalomaniacal emperor) for the time of year that it struck and for their choreography’s resemblance to how worshippers performed in front of the saint’s relics. The other aspect—aside from the very troubled times—that we had failed to see, dancing fools ourselves, was how that there’s something viral and catching too in the routines that are being promulgated—especially in social isolation, which begs the question whether dancing is an expression of grief, a symptom itself, or somehow attendant to suffering, or perhaps healing.