This guest-performance is supported by the National Culture Fund.

In Focus: The National Center for Dance Bucharest

It’s 1518 and the city of Strasbourg is on high alert. A dance epidemic has broken out in the central square of the city. Alternatively called the St Vitus Dance, Chorea Lasciva, dance mania, or choreomania – the documentation of this event is as bizarre as the manifestation itself: a mixture of humoral medicine, supernatural phenomena, a little mycology, and some mythology. For those who’ve missed the countless online articles delving into the phenomenon, the dance epidemic was strongly infused with the ideas of the Christian Church of the late Middle Ages. The few contemporary researchers who studied it classified the event as mass hysteria, and some dance theorists even called it an early manifestation of choreopolitics. 

“Choreomaniacs” is a performative docufiction which chronologically traces the events that marked the dance epidemic of the summer of 1518 in Strasbourg, a mass dystopian manifestation that affected several hundred people. The performance brings into question the way we choose to look at dance, starting from a series of testimonies from scholars of the time, a mixture of pseudo-science, theology, and medieval science-fiction. The emphasis is on the way in which the spread of the epidemic was documented, the events being narrated from the perspective of the one who looks at them, never from the perspective of the one who lives them.

Simona Deaconescu is a Romanian choreographer and filmmaker working across genres and formats. She examines social constructs at the border of fiction and objective reality, sometimes with irony and black humor. She holds a BA and a MA at the choreography department of the National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest. She received the “danceWEB” scholarship in Vienna (2014), the National Centre for Dance in Bucharest Award (2016), was an Aerowaves Twenty18 Artist, and a Springboard Danse Montréal Emerging Choreographer in 2019. Over the past two years, she has been an artist in residence with the European Projects “Moving Digits” and “Biofriction”. Her works were selected and presented in festivals and conventional stages, unconventional spaces, cinemas, galleries and museums, architectural sites, and family houses, reaching audiences around Europe and beyond. In 2014, she founded her own project-based company, “Tangaj Collective”, and since 2015 has been the co-founder and artistic director of the Bucharest International Dance Film Festival.

The performance is co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund within the project “ReDANS – residences for dancers 2020”. The project does not necessarily represent the position of The Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project, nor the manner in which the results of the project can be used. All these are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the grant.

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