Dance of Death media?
October 21, 2022 5:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm building out a list of books, music, video games, and any other media that make an explicit connection between death and dancing. See my current list in the "more inside." What else belongs on it?

- the Danse Macabre genre of medieval art obviously
- everything linked from that wiki page
- Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns
- Poe's The Masque of the Red Death (sort of)
- animated shorts like this one
- Crypt of the NecroDancer
- what else?
posted by sleevener to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The recent version of the movie Suspiria (warning, linked scene is graphically violent)
posted by ejs at 6:14 AM on October 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Would "The Red Shoes" fit? Either the original Hans Christian Andersen story or the Powell & Pressburger film inspired by the fairytale (a masterpiece)
posted by cpatterson at 6:16 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Iron Maiden have both a track and an album on this theme.
posted by automatronic at 6:21 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Dead Can Dance.
posted by zamboni at 6:23 AM on October 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You don't specify fiction. Would ballerina Gelsey Kirkland's memoir Dancing on my Grave count?
posted by FencingGal at 6:25 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Totentanz by Liszt.
posted by xo at 6:26 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: John Frame's enigmatic and mind-blowing Three Fragments of a Lost Tale (sculpture, stop-motion video, music, what have you) features a dance troupe called the Tottentanzers. Weird, gorgeous, gobsmacking stuff worthy of a couple of hours of enraptured Googling.
posted by Grunyon at 6:32 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Tanz mit Laibach

In loosely related, there's also Micky Rourke's soliloquy about California in 'Rumble Fish'.
posted by ovvl at 6:59 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Last night an angel came to say
"I'm sad your grandma passed away"
But now, my grandma got a rave
My grandma got a rave
My grandma got a rave in the grave
posted by rpophessagr at 7:44 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Suspiria?
posted by thivaia at 8:16 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: The idiom "dancing on [someone's] grave" which I am sure appears in a goodly amount of media (I am at work right now and can't search effectively).
posted by gauche at 8:27 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man has a scene where Death takes someone dancing--it's a big enough plot point that the Wikipedia summary includes it. I think it's loosely inspired by Death Takes a Holiday, but I can't recall if Death dances in that--in the play it's based on, it's at least mentioned that he has.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:31 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Delta Rae's Dance in the Graveyards
posted by jenettsilver at 8:35 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More With Feeling."
posted by Silvery Fish at 8:44 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ultravox: Dancing (with tears in my eyes)

John Fahey: Dance of Death

Also, what many consider the most annoying episode of The Prisoner: Dance of the Dead.
posted by Rash at 9:15 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: The Day of the Dead has a lot of dancing associated with it. Some carnival/parade scenes in this section from Spectre as an example, but most things Dia de Muertos-related would include an element of dance, as it's supposed to be a celebration.
posted by underclocked at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has a sequence where on (iirc) Halloween, dead spirits rise to dance with the living.
posted by capricorn at 10:10 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Valse Triste (Op. 44, No. 1) by Sibelius.
posted by nautical twilight at 11:06 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Cosmic Dancer by T. Rex

“Danced myself into the tomb,
Is it strange to dance so soon.”

Great song!
posted by multivalent at 11:12 AM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Maaaaybe this scene from Legend?
posted by Temeraria at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Saint-Saëns's Danse Macabre started its life as a song based on a poem by Henri Cazalis.

A real-life event was the Bal of the Burning Men where four noblemen burnt to death at a bal in 1393. It was reported by several contemporary chroniclers and abundantly illustrated during the Middle Ages.
posted by snakeling at 1:57 PM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wheel of Time: Dance with Jak o' the Shadows.
posted by catquas at 2:10 PM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: This is a little random but just today a UK Conservative magazine ran a lengthy critique of a Boris Johnson comeback, ending it:

If so, it can look forward to a Prime Minister staffing his government with fifth raters, since the bulk of the 66 Ministers who resigned in the summer will refuse to serve. If a by-election forced by a Commons suspension doesn’t get him. If the Tory benches don’t first vote down the report into his conduct that would trigger it, thus speeding the spiral of decline.

The Germans have a word for it: Totentanz – a dance of death. Conservative MPs, peers, donors, hacks and activists caper owards an open grave, with Death himself – sorry, Johnson – leading the procession. The dance possesses them; it has a momentum of its own; they are powerless to stop.

posted by Rumple at 9:55 PM on October 21, 2022

Best answer: Florence and the Machine has a song inspired by the dancing plague called Choreomania, which includes mention of dancing to death
posted by sepviva at 5:28 PM on October 23, 2022

Oh, come on Rash, link the whole album. The Dance of Death and the other plantation favorites are parts of a whole.
posted by y2karl at 11:08 AM on November 5, 2022

I'm unfamiliar with the whole LP, listening to it now -‌- thanks! I know this track from the soundtrack of "Zabriskie Point" and you can hear it towards the end of that film here.
posted by Rash at 10:22 AM on November 6, 2022

“Antonioni says, ‘What I want you to do is to compose some music that will go along with the porno scene.’ I kept saying, ‘Yes, sir.’ Then he starts this, ‘Now, John. This is young love. Young love.’ I mean, that’s young love? All these bodies? ‘Young love. But John, it’s in the desert, where’s there’s death. But it’s young love.’ He kept going, ‘Young Love/Death’ faster and faster. I was sure I was talking to a madman. I’m still sure I was.

“So I experimented. I had instrumentalists come in and told them just to play whatever they felt like. They had to pretend to understand what I was talking about, especially if Antonioni came in the room. That was fun. They were very cooperative. I came up with some sections of music that sounded more like death than young love. It was actually pretty ominous. I played it for Michelangelo and he thought it was great. So he took me out to dinner at this really fancy restaurant and started telling me how horrible the United States was. We were drinking a lot of wine and I don’t remember which one of us started cussing. It started real fast and ended in a fistfight. You have no idea how much that guy hates the United States. What a jerk.”
John Fahey :: The Zabriskie Point Tapes
posted by y2karl at 1:24 PM on November 6, 2022

I actually saw Zabriskie Point when it was part of a film series at the University of Washington in 1970. I was excited to hear Fahey's Dance of Death was on the soundtrack as I was a fan of his early mono Takoma albums by then, but I was not impressed with the movie at all. I see from the Wikipedia Zabriskie Point (film) post that the soundtrack included music by
Pink Floyd, The Youngbloods, Kaleidoscope, Jerry Garcia, Patti Page, Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and John Fahey. Roy Orbison wrote and sang the theme song, over the credits, called "So Young (Love Theme From "Zabriskie Point")".
Antonioni certainly had hip musical tastes for the time. And now I come to find that Harrison Ford appeared as a jailed college student protestor in Zabriskie Point. Wow, may wonders never cease.-- that little movie was practically a hipster singularity.
posted by y2karl at 2:16 PM on November 6, 2022

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