Joyful to celebrate their new-won unity and solidarity, multitudes of women everywhere began descending non-violently into the streets and dancing up such a storm that even the hired mercenaries of the capitalists had to put down their guns and join the joyful throng! The images of Billions of people dancing in the streets, flashed around the globe, became a paradigm of the potential of humanity’s radical Emergence. ‘The Dance Craze to Save the World’ amazed many orthodox revolutionaries. Instead of organizing a centralized World Revolutionary Party, the masses, in that age of planetary connectivity where fads, fashions and financial disasters were propagated literally at the speed of light, people began organizing a Dance Party for the Planet.
This wasn’t the first time that dance epidemics swept across the world. The ancient Greek historians Paucities and Plutarch report that female worshippers of Dionysius called maenads used to abandon their spinning and children and run out into the woods in a frenzy of dance. In the Middle Ages, an infectious ‘dance plague’ called the Tarantella swept from village to village across Italy, irresistibly drawing people into the streets to dance until they dropped. In the 21st Century, even in the most repressive societies, women still retained their traditional female circle dances, and women – including women of faith – took the lead in dancing humanity’s way out of self-destruction. Men were irresistibly drawn into the dance, but they had to lay down their weapons before they were allowed to join.
The apparently chaotic, irrational movement of masses of people dancing frightened many pundits, statesmen, intellectuals and outside observers who were afraid that the individuals were lost in a terrifying mob. However, the world’s leading scientists posted a paper comparing the movements of people dancing to the Quantic interactions of sub-atomic particles. “As dancers move together rhythmically (the wave function) they retain their individuality (the particle function) while at the same time creating a new emergent holistic system (the dance itself). Dancers enjoy the feeling of getting ‘swept up’ or ‘lost’ in the dance, yet somewhere they also retain awareness of their own individuality.” The physicists’ and psychologists’ report saw no ‘contradiction’ between the dancers’ individual and social selves. The dance itself emerged as they interact with other dancers, mirroring their movements and being mirrored in turn. Like all emergent holistic systems, the dance was seen as ‘a whole greater than the sum of its parts.’
The psychologists concluded that humans apparently crave this kind of creative interaction. Historians pointed out that ecstatic danced religion – still practiced in indigenous societies into the 21st Century – was humanity’s earliest expression of spirituality. On the other hand, down through the ages the established authorities of organized religion and the state uniformly tried to repress this tradition because of its revolutionary potential. As feminist-socialist Barbara Ehrenreich had pointed out years before, collective joy has been the enemy of power from Greek King Pentheus’ suppression of the worship of Dionysius to Puritanism’s suppression of Carnival and its replacement by spectacle and individual consumption under capitalism. Now the revolution of collective joy was visible everywhere: dancing in the streets!