All posts by Seyi Soremekun

Traditional health practices interpreted through music and dance at the 2013 Bloomsbury Festival

As part of the LSHTM’s contribution to the Bloomsbury Festival 2013, staff members will present a public health, music and dance showcase on the topic of traditional cures within the community. This will form part of the Wellcome Collection’s larger festival exhibit on Movement: Thinking with the Body.

A growing body of research at the LSHTM centres on the use of community-based health workers to counsel, treat, and monitor the well-being of families in projects in low- and middle-income countries across the globe. Such programmes are often culturally tailored to the groups they serve and build on existing practices within the communities. For this year’s festival we are interested in exploring traditional examples of community-centred health care, hence The Tarantella.


Tarantelle (often in “Pizzica” style) are a group of southern Italian curative dances performed by victims of the bites of venomous spiders, usually supported by villagers, and accompanied by village musicians playing fast music in 6/8 time to aid in the cure. The energetic movements of the dance were thought to help “sweat out” the poison, and dances could last for hours or even days. Since its inception, the School has had particular interests in the study of health conditions resulting from the bites of insects and other bugs, so it is fitting that LSHTM researchers have chosen to interpret the concept of community-based health through a performance of Rossini’s “La Danza” Tarantella in an arrangement for piano, violin, and percussion.

This will be presented alongside a tarantella dance and sketch exploring illness, care seeking and treatment within the community. Audience members will be able to join in the dance, and learn more about the Tarantella and current public health projects at the School.

Ancient Cures: The Tarantella by Seyi Soremekun, additional material by Lu Gram and Christian Bottomley

When: Sunday 20th October, 12:45pm and 04:15pm

Where: Ministry of Movement Tent, Russell Square London WC1B 5EQ

Starring: Arianna Serino, Christian Bottomley, Daniela Manno, Ian Roberts, Joanna Akhgar, Lalitha Eswaran, Lu Gram, Paola Torrani, Seyi Soremekun, Tambu Agere

More information about the festival: Bloomsbury Festival, LSHTM Bloomsbury exhibits