The Dancing Plague of 1518

People love to dance.

There have been many movements that were started by dance moves. Dance gives people a chance to express themselves.

What happens though when people dance so long that they die?

In 1518 in Strasbourg, Alsace, people danced for one month straight without sleeping. Many of them died from heart attacks, strokes, and exhaustion.

It started with one woman.

Frau Troffea stepped into the Strasbourg streets and began to twirl and sway. According to, she danced by herself for six days and had a fever of 103.

According to, about dozens of Strasbourg’s people soon joined in. The number grew and grew, and about 400 people joined in about the end of August, 1518.

Dance can uplift the spirits, but dancing for a month without stopping caused most of the people to have series of heart attacks and strokes. Plus, as you can guess, the dancing plague caused exhaustion.

During the plague, the growing number of people dying caused medical and civic authorities to the streets.

According to Historic, the diagnosis was more dancing and a stage was even built, so musicians can perform for the dancers.

To learn more about theories that might have caused the Dancing Plague, check out my soundcloud that continues this story.



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