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Ramanenjana: A public lecture about a dance epidemic

January 26 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Simona Deaconescu sitting on stage with mic in hand.

Join us for a discussion with Romanian choreographer and filmmaker Simona Deaconescu.

The discussion will cover her co-created docufiction performance about a dance that made history. Ramanenjana has been described in historical documents as a “choreomania” or “dance epidemic” in which more than 20,000 people danced with supernatural resistance from February to May. This little-known event began in 1863 in southern Madagascar with the arrival of French colonial forces and spread like a pilgrimage (or a virus?) to Antananarivo, the political centre. The French withdrew, only returning in 1895.

Wanting to discover the local history of the event, Deaconescu conducted a series of interviews with ethnomusicologist Olombelo Ricky, anthropologist Michel Razafiarivony, professors Ray Amandreny Benoit Randrianasolo and Serge Henri Rodin, cultural journalist Domoina Ratsara, and other people she met during her travels. Due to its strong links with colonialism, Deaconescu learned that talking about Ramanenjana in Madagascar nowadays is as challenging as it was in the 19th century.

In Malagasy, Ramanenjana means “something that makes you rigid” but also “something that makes you strong”. In southern Madagascar, Ramanenjana means “respect for those who dance with the spirits”. Working with a plurality of meanings, the show critically exposes several versions of the same historical event, investigating the past and present role of public dance within a broad social context.

There is also another public talk on January 24th, and two  performances of Ramanenjana on January 25 and 26, at 7:30 pm s part of the Living Things Festival at the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Art, 421 Cawton Ave, Kelowna.

This talk is sponsored by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Living Thing Festival.


January 26
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Creative and Critical Studies Building (CCS)
1148 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
CCS 144
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Festival, Presentation, Talk/Lecture, Theatre
Arts and Humanities, Culture and Diversity, Global
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students