.............as performed by The Bones Band
The Danse Macabre, also known as the Totentanz, or Dance of Death, has a lengthy history stretching back to the Middle Ages and beyond. Perhaps originally it functioned as a form of magical ritual, designed to attract and draw away the evil spirits of disease and death as the dance passed by. Later, during times of plague in Medieval Europe, the eerie vision of dancing skeletons was used by the Church as a reminder of the common destiny of us all, as Death personified took beggar, burgher, priest and the potentate alike.
Later still, when the immediate threat of plague had abated, the dance continued in a more politicized form. The Church had used its symbolism to emphasize the futility of human vanity in the face of mortal destiny. The secular community now used it to underline and celebrate the common fate of all classes of society.
The Danse Macabre which the Bones Band performs today is a bit of all of these things -- a ritual to dispel danger, to acknowledge the ultimate domocracy of the grave, as well as to celebrate Life itself by honoring the dead, and affirming the continuity of existence. It is by this celebration of death, indeed, that we reclaim the joy of life, and assert our communion with all that have gone before.
The Bones Band
Among the events at which the Bones Band has appeared (sometimes even officially) are the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, Renaissance Pleasure Faire, St. Stupid's Day Parade, Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade, and Castro Street Halloween. A multi-cultural, egalitarian and polymorphously perverse group, the Bones Band can be cajoled to enliven(!) wakes, weddings, birthdays and other occasions.