Dancing Plague of 1518 is a series of illustrations by Brazilian graphic designer Niege Borges that celebrates dancing in pop culture and commemorates a true event by the same name. The series presents a number of dances performed by silhouettes of recognizable figures from TV and film. From the silliest little dances like Arrested Development‘s Bluth family awkwardly imitating their versions of a chicken to big show-stopping numbers like Gene Kelly’s solo from Singing in the Rain, the illustrations reveal a fun, almost instructional, visual of the choreography involved.
Despite its whimsical nature, the project stems from an unusual event that occurred in July of 1518 in Strasbourg, France. The artist calls her project a sort of memorial for Frau Toffea, a woman who began manically dancing in the streets for several days. This led others to join in the dancing mania. After a little over a month, a number of the participants in this preceding version of a flash mob or meme fell victim to heart problems, which led to what is now also known as the Dancing Epidemic of 1518.