RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $4200Goal: $6000

Dancing mania

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Dancing mania as depicted by Hendrick Hondius (1642)
Tell me about
your mother

Icon psychology.svg
For our next session...
Popping into your mind

Dancing mania or choreomania was a form of mass hysteria epidemic in early modern Europe. It basically took the form of thousands of people dancing wildly and uncontrollably through the streets until they died or otherwise collapsed from exhaustion.


The breakouts of dancing were once thought to have been caused by widespread psychological trauma due to harsh living conditions; one person would start dancing and the rest, seeking a vent for all their troubles, would follow. However, more recently it has been revealed that that these episodes are best explained as screwball religious sects who gained followers as they made pilgrimages throughout Europe during years of turmoil and hardship in order to receive divine favor. Their symptoms are predictable for any large population engaging in prolonged dancing, emotional worship as well as fasting. Their actions have been mistranslated by contemporary scholars evaluating the participants’ behaviors per se, removed from their regional context and meaning. Tarantism was the name of a regional variant of dancing mania that developed into a local tradition in the most southern parts of Italy.[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gotman A., Kelina Choreomania (2008) Columbia University

See also[edit]

External links[edit]