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I am an alien from outer space who is visiting a planet called Earth. The species living here, humans, have a very primitive and strange culture. They seem to spontaneously burst into dance and song, performing long musical performances at random notice. The topics involving these musical numbers can involve anything ranging from love in a relationship to discovering a magic lamp. This can grow to be very irritating, as a simple conversation with one of these idiots can erupt into a long musical number when a simple answer would have sufficed.

This bizarre nonsense usually starts off with one person at a time. They normally complain about their woes or some aspect of their life, and begin singing loudly. This could occur in an isolated spot or a heavily populated area. This singing eventually leads to body movements which I interpret to be what passes for dancing in this species. The effect seems to be contagious, as any passers-by are affected and join in, extending the range and effect to others. Soon, hundreds or even thousands of random strangers join in the number, despite having no relation to each other. The performance appears to have been perfectly choreographed, as everyone is on cue and NSYNC with each other, despite having no previous contact. This can go on for minutes, until the performance is over and everyone goes back to what they were doing before.

This strange occurrence is unique compared to all the other species I have observed. I am currently studying them to discover why this happens, and whether the effect stems from something biological, mental, or cultural in their society. It may simply be a mix of all three in some way. How can I explain this bizarre behavior?

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    $\begingroup$ Would a demon compelling them to do it constitute as a sufficient justification? $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 28 '20 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ Listen here stranger. You come here, from other side of tha pond. You call yourself alien from outer space jBut to us yer just another dandy Oxford or Cambridge graduate with a degree in anthorpology that "discover" native dance. Yer been to busy drinin ale and fondling with deacon daighter to know you should be studying Ethnochoreology $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 28 '20 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ By the way, "and NSYNC with each other" - I get the pun but I don't think it works well when written down. It just looks and reads...weird. Also, it can slip by some of the younger readers. And by "younger", I mean that if someone was born after the group (essentially) ended, they can almost vote now. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 28 '20 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand why our Alien never leaves the broadway and stumbles from theatre to theatre.... $\endgroup$ – Trish Jan 28 '20 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Anatomically correct diegetic singing princess $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Jan 28 '20 at 15:24
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The Dancing Plague is back and better than ever.

This phenomena was first observed in 1518 in Strasbourg. Perhaps it was demons, or contaminated rye, or an entirely psychological phenomenon - but for several months, people were inexplicably compelled to burst into dance. Combined with the rise of musical theater as an art form among humans, it's no wonder why isolated performances propagate through the population today.

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Why would you write a poem, or a heartfelt letter to your loved one? A simple affirmation of love would convey the same meaning without using so many words. Why would you speak to your boss politely and ask for a raise, instead of just bluntly stating that you want it?

As humans, we do value other humans putting more effort into their communication than just stating the facts. Using formal, or even literary language is then a kind of kindness we extend to others - we show that the other person is worth us expending the extra energy on communicating with them.

Various societies on Earth have different ideas of how much and what kind of formality is appropriate in which situations, but the overall idea is similar - the more you have to think about your words, the more effort you put into them, the kinder and more polite you appear. And putting our thoughts into verse, arranging a melody around them, and punctuating that with a choreographic routine certainly does take a lot of effort.

And with that kind of communication being common, other ideas grow around it. Just like holding the door open for someone is viewed as nice even if they don't require the help, so is joining in as a backup singer or a part of the dancing crowd.

Don't be alarmed then, stranger - they're just being kind to you. Maybe a bit overly kind, but I'm sure you'll get used to it.

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First of all - if you call the culture, you're "studying", behaviour - a "bizarre nonsense" you might be in the wrong field. You are not only biased toward them but also prejuiced and with very narrow defintions.

You interpret the thing as "dance" because it's what in your culture is called (not even on your planet).
But it's a language. A language shared by a lot of people, hence they all know rules of it. Rules on with whom they might share it, to whom story they might add a little reverb/echo by participating in the background. What stories are performed solo and what are a group effort.

Make an experiment - think if you can "dance" the sentence "whip the mashed potatoes for the nana".

Also observe some more species. This is not unique. Blue Footed Boobies do that in pairs. Blue Manakins in little groups of four. Andean Flamingos in dozens.

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Over the life of every human they have been trained to associate singing and dancing with happiness. This species seems to be the most happy when they sing and dance, especially in groups. Many of these songs and dances are ritualistically taught starting at birth. Everyone knows the newest song and dance as it is broadcast on TV or on the internet. Everyone strives to become the newest song and dance sensation as the most famous of this species are singers. Oddly enough, the most common place for humans to sing is in the shower.

Or maybe futuristic musical brain chips installed at birth.

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