Lucien Johnson’s delirious compositions work beautifully with the dancers

— The Pantograph Punch on Lobsters 

Strasbourg, 1518. A city on the brink. The triple threat of escalating inequality, rampant misogyny and a devastating drought threaten to break the town in two. When a lone woman steps out of her house and begins to dance, everyone is bewildered. But within days, hundreds more have followed her lead. As the authorities invent ever more bizarre ways to resolve this new crisis, the city falls one by one into a delirious hypnosis of a real-life dance with death.

Directed and choreographed by Lucy Marinkovich and written and composed by Lucien Johnson, Borderline Arts Ensemble’s world premiere explores the unsolved and enigmatic true history of the 1518 Strasbourg dance epidemic. With live music and an outstanding company of dancers including the legendary Michael Parmenter, this production is a visceral, explosive exploration of the limits of rationality, the power of the subconscious and the pivotal need for dance in human lives.

Commissioned by New Zealand Festival of the Arts. Supported by Creative New Zealand, Wellington City Council, Wallace Arts Trust, Wellesley Studios, The University of Auckland Dance Studies programme, Wellington Community Trust and the Australian High Commission.

Directed and choreographed by
Lucy Marinkovich

Written and composed by
Lucien Johnson

Michael Parmenter

There is a free post-show talk with Yadana Saw for this event on Saturday 14 March at Circa Theatre.

Download the event programme here.

Cast and crew


The Rational Man
France Hervé

The Choreomaniacs
Jana Castillo, Sean MacDonald, Xin Ji, Katie Rudd, Emmanuelle Reynaud, Hannah Tasker-Poland

The Musician
Lucien Johnson

The Maiden
Lucy Marinkovich

Michael Parmenter


Director and Choreographer
Lucy Marinkovich

Writer and Composer
Lucien Johnson

Production Design
Lucy Marinkovich

Lighting Design
Marcus McShane

Costume design
Lucy Marinkovich
Lauren Hooper
Poppy Serano

Set Design
Poppy Serano

Partnered by
Thanks to

Thursday 12  –  Sunday 15 March

Thursday 12 March Sold Out! 6:30pm
Friday 13 March Sold Out! 6:30pm
Saturday 14 March Sold Out! 6:30pm
Sunday 15 March Sold Out! 4pm


Circa Theatre

  • Wheelchair Access Symbol.png Wheelchair accessible
Duration: 1hr 10mins

Contains nudity

Artist Talk Theatre Music Dance
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