Tuesday, September 05, 2006


tidbits that tantalize

When You Feel

Like Dancing...

Ambling quietly through the mall beside mom, a child suddenly dashes ahead, hands outspread and head thrown back as she twirls and whirls in a dizzying display of youthful exuberance. “Ah,” say pleased passersby, “She’s so cute!” Then, in a stunning reversal of roles, mom joins in the giddy gadabout of twirls, swirls and curls. Pleased no longer, the onlookers manage only a whispered mutter of, “What’s with that?”

So, what IS with that? Was mom simply overcome by her daughter’s joy? Or, was she captivated by the Middle Ages malady known as TARANTISM? Named for the southern Italian town of Taranto, sufferers of Tarantism were overcome with an uncontrollable urge to dance. Prominent during the 15th – 17th centuries, the affliction was attributed to the poison of the large wolf spider, or Tarantula, that was common in the fields about Taranto. It’s unclear whether Tarantism was a true clinical condition, or simply a clever ploy to circumvent religious prohibitions against dancing.

Imagine - you’re walking down a quiet, tree-lined street, a hint of fall in the air, and “The Urge” overtakes you. What do you do? Give in! Twirl and swirl, glide and slide, gleeful as a grasshopper bounding about without a care. And, if you’re greeted with scowls or howls, never mind… Dance on down the street, shouting back to those earthbound onlookers, “I can’t help myself!”

To read more about Tarantism visit Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantism


Blogger Suzanne Lieurance said...

Fascinating blog, Tim! Where do you dig up all this interesting stuff?

Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

5:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home