Taking advantage of the fact that… we've got the moves.


Did you know that Huntington’s Disease wasn’t always known by this name? It has changed throughout history, but all its names have always had something in common: they have been related to dance! 

This year we wanted to take advantage of this fact, and created the initiative #HuntingtonDance, a choreography to raise awareness and give visibility to HD by using our best moves. We’d love everyone to join us!

A look throughout history

Hundreds of years ago, in 1418, Strasbourg was visited by the Dancing Plague. The affected ones had movements that resembled those of dancers. Some historical texts record that “these were seen day and night passing through the streets, accompanied by musicians playing on bagpipes, and by innumerable spectators attracted by curiosity, to which were added anxious parents and relatives, who came to look after those among the misguided multitude who belonged to their respective families.” [1]

The religious context of the time led these relatives to implore for a miracle in the chapels of St. Vitus that were found in the region. Eventually, St. Vitus was invoked as a patron saint in Christian popular belief to cure the disease because, according to the legend, he had healed a child from the disease during his lifetime. And what was once known as the Dancing Mania, became the St. Vitus Dance.


Later, at the beginning of the 16th century, the Swiss physician Paracelsus, introduced the term Saint Vitus Chorea. [2] This word, that you have probably heard before, comes from the Greek word choreia, which guess what? Also means dance. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the word chorea was used by the scientific community to describe neurological diseases. 

The name Huntington appeared on the scene because the physician George Huntington was the first to describe and propose the hereditary nature of the disease in a publication, where he referred to the disease as Hereditary Chorea. Less than a decade after this publication, due to the impact the publication had on the medical community, Hereditary Chorea was renamed as Huntington’s Chorea. [3]

Using history to make history

As you can see, there are hundreds of years of evolution of the name of the disease that brings us together, all of them using terms that make allusion to the movements that are so characteristic of our community. These movements make us unique and we want to use them to make history. Just as other neurodegenerative diseases have used initiatives that have made them visible, we’d like this year’s #HuntingtonDance to make history and make HD known to those who have never heard about this disease. 

We would like to thank Coco Style Spain for the effort and enthusiasm to create this choreography and give visibility to our community. You can watch the choreography here. We hope you can join us and share it with those around you. Don’t be shy, we’re sure that you’ve got the moves!

– Article written by Jarelys López