Monday, October 27, 2008

Spider dancing

Spiders and cobwebs seem to be “in” this year for Halloween decorations. Of course the spiders are either black widows or tarantulas, although some people find any spider rather scary.

As a kid, I recall playing a piano piece titled, “Tarantella”. Above the music was a drawing of a boy who was very ill, lying on a bed. He had been bitten by a tarantula (you could see the hairy culprit racing out of the room in the right hand corner). Because the doctor could not cure him, his desperate parents brought in musicians to play the Tarantula dance. As they played, the boy rose from the bed and began to dance. The musicians increased the tempo, playing faster and faster, and the boy danced so hard that he sweated the poison out -- and was healed (as shown by the second drawing of the boy dancing in jubilation).
So -- proof of the medicinal power of music.

Here’s what said about the Tarantella:

The "Spider Dance" or Tarantella is a wild erotic trance dance ritual from Southern Italy which has been used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula. This form of ecstatic dance originated in ancient Greece as a rite of devotion to the god Dionysus (god of ecstasy and wine). The women involved in these rites were called Baccanti, and later TARANTATE, and they danced the PIZZICA TARANTATA (which means, "the bite of the spider tarantula", also called "the bite of love"). It is this bite of love that has driven people over the centuries, especially women, to dance in a wild frenzy in order to free themselves of repressed sexual desires.

This seems like a precursor to vampires, doesn’t it? Maybe we all should dance wildly a little more often…

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