“If you watched a modern interpretative dance… you may well conclude the dancer was having some kind of seizure and perhaps suffering some pain or disease to cause such 
unnatural motions.” (Via Adrienne’s Catholic Corner)

We like to imagine, understandably, that liturgical dance is a modern phenomenon, brought on by the madness of our troubled age. But that’s not true, otherwise normal Christians have been seized by dancing insanity in the past.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, dancing “plagues” gripped whole regions of Europe. Even convents were not immune:

Not long before the Strasbourg dancing epidemic, an equally strange compulsion had gripped a nunnery in the Spanish Netherlands. In 1491 several nuns were ‘possessed’ by devilish familiars which impelled them to race around like dogs, jump out of trees in imitation of birds or miaow and claw their way up tree trunks in the manner of cats. Such possession epidemics were by no means confined to nunneries, but nuns were disproportionately affected (Newman, 1998). Over the next 200 years, in nunneries everywhere from Rome to Paris, hundreds were plunged into states of frantic delirium during which they foamed, screamed and convulsed, sexually propositioned exorcists and priests, and confessed to having carnal relations with devils or Christ.

What causes this “dancing madness”? Is it Satan, mind-altering drugs, or a simple case of mental illness? Whatever the cause, the affliction has resurfaced in our own time. And remember…

Liturgical Dance is not awesome,