Despite decades of research, utilising the most complicated electronic machines and test tubes, scientists are still baffled as to what a 'dancing' is.
"We think it may be a virus," said Doctor Carol Carabob, head research scientist at the Scientific Institute For Research, a scientific institute dedicated to purely researching scientific research in the field of science. "But to be honest most things we're not sure about are usually put down to being the result of some kind of virus: gammy throats, stomach headaches, sadness, that weird itch that feels like it's under your skin, the urge to suddenly poo, liking James Corden. But in this case, the case of 'dance,' it may actually be a virus. Or not. We just don't know, and that's what makes it so worrying."
The first recorded incident of a 'dancing' was when Jesus laid down some shapes during one of his infamous Sermons On The Mount sessions, proclaiming himself to be "The Lord Of The Dance." He was nailed to a tree several days later.
Little is known about 'dancing' in the centuries that followed, although some accounts exist in Medieval times of buxom wenches frolicking with devils in the woods in a manner that was interpreted as a 'dance.' Those women were promptly burned to death and 'interpretive dance' was banned outright. The Waltz also became popular in the 1300s - the Bubonic Plague quickly followed. Coincidence?
Fast-forward to the 1700s and suddenly the Sarabande and Minuet became a popular way of moving about in a certain pattern whilst music played in the background. Thousands of people - possibly more - died in the 1700s. Is there a link? Was the music important to the weird gesturing and swaying? It's a mystery still to be solved.
No-one knows what's going on here, although some scholars believe Jane Austen is responsible.
"I believe there is a strong connection between 'dancing' and viruses," said virologist Francis Horticultural-Lint. "I don't have any scientific proof of this, but it's what I believe."
"One only has to look at Edgar Allen Poe's short story The Masque Of The Red Death to see the direct connection between moving around in a certain way and a virus that can and probably will kill you until you are dead."
Is The Masque Of The Red Death a cautionary tale about the dangers of 'dancing,' or is it merely the product of a man filled with an insatiable lust for sex and booze?
"Okay, so Poe was an alcoholic syphilis-ridden manic depressive with a face like a sentient balloon," Francis Horticultural-Lint said. "But that doesn't mean we shouldn't read between the lines of his fiction. Maybe it was the knowledge of this viral 'dance' pandemic that drove him into the arms of many pox-ladened prostitutes. This poor man, literary genius that he was, tried to warn us the best way he knew how: via a very short, very macabre story in which everyone dies horribly. And yet no-one heeded his warning. No wonder he had a head like a haunted lightbulb."
Other experts in the field of science disagree with the virus theory, instead putting the odd characteristics of 'dance' down to more psychological issues.
Doctor Bob Boyle, an expert behavioural therapist and author of the best-selling self-help books Children Are Monsters and Mommy Says You're Not Dead, believes that 'dancing' is merely a by-product of having a deep-rooted desire to hack up people and harvest their body parts so you can live forever.
"It seems fairly obvious to me," said Doctor Bob Boyle, "although the proof has yet to present itself. But you know, we can't even prove that diabetes exists - yet we just know that it does. Still, we continue to do whatever research we need to do, in order to find out the cause of this strange mystery."
"The mystery of 'dancing.'"
His colleague, Doctor Carl Freudstein, agreed. "Mmmph," he added.
People in the creative industry have managed to benefit from these weird muscular spasms however, and it seems there's no sign of it stopping any time soon, despite not really knowing what 'dance' is.
"It absolutely terrifies me," Andrew Lloyd Webber said. "It terrifies me that we still don't know what this 'dancing' thing is about. I wrote the show Cats and when they put it on all these people started moving around on the stage to the music. I was like, 'what? What's that about?' No really, I have no idea what Cats is about. It was the late 70s and I was doing a shitload of coke."
"I met Fred Astaire once, and I asked him: 'why do you do it? Do you even know what 'it' is?' And do you know what he did? He leaned forward, his eyes wide, breath hot and wet, put his mouth next to my ear, and whispered 'I can't stop. I can't stop and I don't know why or what it is that I'm doing exactly. Help me, please help me.' I gave him some of my cocaine and that seemed to calm him down."
Meanwhile, at a recent press conference: "Dancing!" screamed Britney Spears whilst smashing her head through a brick wall. "DANCING!"
"She likes to dance," said her father, Jerry Partpole Spears. "Whatever that is."
I don't know.
Frank Unkempt, CEO of McDonalds, is just one of many successful brand owners who have also capitalised on this unknown phenomena.
"In our latest ad campaign for the McBastard burger we had Ronald McDonald moving down some steps in a way that suggested he was undulating to a rhythm that physically represented how good he felt at the time, if you interpreted it that way. Of course, in medieval times that would have gotten us burnt alive but thankfully we're in a society where I can sell McBastard burgers to you without fear of repercussions."
"The only thing that scares me is the knowledge that we still don't know what this 'dancing' thing is. I wish the scientists would spend less time looking into how bad fast food is for you and instead concentrated on this much more pressing matter."
Ronald McDonald gyrates for joy at the prospect of selling more burgers
"We may never know what this is all about," Doctor Carol Carabob said. "It keeps me up at night, to be honest."
"I remember when disco became popular. It was horrifying. People going to nightclubs and just... moving around a lot. They came back exhausted, sweaty, and much poorer than they were when they left. And no-one was willing to think about what caused it all. No-one. It was like being in They Live only I didn't need a special pair of sunglasses to see the madness."
"But I - and the entire scientific community - am not going to rest until we find the cause of this thing. Whether it's some kind of Satanic ritual deeply installed in our psyche or the workings of a mysterious virus that keeps mutating, whether it's aliens controlling us from afar whilst they watch us for entertainment or somehow our universe has collided and merged with a parallel reality where this 'dance' shit makes sense, whatever it is: we're going to keep working on it, at least until we get a bigger fund to work on something else."
"You know, some people say that 'doing a dancing' is really just a brain-triggered impulse to move rhythmically to a sound - like 'music' say - to simultaneously release natural pleasure-chemicals into our heads and also possibly to attract a mate. But the people saying that aren't actually scientists, they're usually just the janitors who clean up our labs after we've finished mixing different coloured powders with lab rats and then throwing volatile liquids everywhere, so they shouldn't be taken seriously. I mean, I saw one of our janitors eat a McBastard burger once. How can you trust that person's judgement?"
- Mark Anthony Finch
Oh, you're still here. Well, here's a little treat I've put together for all those of you who like to 'dance,' whatever that is. A Delectable Selection Of Disco & Dance is a 101 minute mix, created by yours truly, containing tracks from the 70s, 80s, 90s and onwards, for all those of you who like to shake parts of your body to music! It features a specially extended mix of Michael Jackson's Thriller which I threw together one drunken evening and much, much more to cut the rug up with, whatever the hell that means...
You can listen to the mix for free here!
Alternatively you can listen to it via this handy widget thingy situated just below this paragraph, with the mix's tracklist situated just below that. As always though, you may enjoy the mix more if you go in blind. Either way, enjoy!
A DELECTABLE SELECTION OF DISCO & DANCE
WSTS Picaroon Platters Radio
(compiled & mixed by Mark Anthony Finch)
Asteroid - Asteroid
Chic - Everybody Dance
KC & The Sunshine Band - (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty
Fabio Frizzi - You Are Not The Same
ABBA - Voulez-Vous
The Bee Gees - You Should Be Dancing
The Fans - Doctor Dunk
The Communards - Don't Leave Me This Way
Wham! - Love Machine
Arthur King - Fear
CeCe Peniston - Finally
Donny Benet - Mr Experience
Pete Tong with the Heritage Orchestra feat. Todd Edwards - Go Crazy
Womack & Womack - Teardrops (Extended)
Joe Smooth - Promised Land
Cerrone - Supernature (Instrumental Climax Edit)
The Adventures Of Stevie V - Dirty Cash
Cornershop - Brimful Of Asha (The Norman Cook Remix)
Paula Abdul - Vibeology
Miami Sound Machine - Dr Beat (Long Version)
Michael Jackson - Thriller (Special Extended Version)
John Barry feat. Shirley Bassey - Moonraker (End Title)
The Whispers - And The Beat Goes On
Daedelus - Fair Weather Friends