Este agosto se cumplen 500 años del final de este rave insólito en Estrasburgo, ciudad que pocos identificamos con conductas de este tipo. Copio el artículo de wikipedia tal cual. Encuentro que no hemos celebrado la conmemoración de esta gesta como se merecía.
The dancing plague (or dance epidemic) of 1518 was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace, in the Holy Roman Empire in July 1518. Around 400 people took to dancing for days without rest and, over the period of about one month, some of those affected collapsed or even died of heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.
The outbreak began in July 1518 when a woman, Mrs. Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. This lasted somewhere between four and six days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers, predominantly female. Some of these people would die from heart attacks, strokes, or exhaustion. One report indicates that for a period, the plague killed around fifteen people per day. However, the sources of the city of Strasbourg at the time of the events did not mention the number of deaths, even if there were fatalities.
Historical documents, including «physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council» are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why these people danced, some even to their deaths.
As the dancing plague worsened, concerned nobles sought the advice of local physicians, who ruled out astrological and supernatural causes, instead announcing that the plague was a «natural disease» caused by «hot blood». However, instead of prescribing bleeding, authorities encouraged more dancing, in part by opening two guildhalls and a grain market, and even constructing a wooden stage. The authorities did this because they believed that the dancers would recover only if they danced continuously night and day. To increase the effectiveness of the cure, authorities even paid for musicians to keep the afflicted moving. The strategy was a disaster; after those policies were applied the illness underwent a dramatic growth. Making its victims perform their dances in the most public of spaces facilitated the psychic “contagion”. The authorities twisted a calamity into a nightmare scenario.
Historian John Waller stated that a marathon runner could not have lasted the intense workout that these men and women did hundreds of years ago.