The Dancing Plague of 1518 was a phenomenon of collective dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg. The outbreak began when Mrs. Troffea began to dance fervently in the street. Her manic movements lasted somewhere between four and six days, but within a week thirty-four others had joined, and within a month over four-hundred people were taken by this torrential force. In an attempt to halt the epidemic, the government arranged for an orchestra as accompaniment to the movement. Their efforts failed, and eventually collapsing from heart attacks, strokes, or physical exhaustion, many people died. This dance epidemic happened in silence, yet most likely there was music in their minds.
Contemporary performer Emma Waltraud Howes will present a new piece taking this historical event as her cue.