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Angelica is both a noun and a verb. Each has an identical root that will become apparent immediately upon learning the definitions of the two forms of the word. That is, unless you are a complete idiot. In which case, you may never learn the root of the words. If so, you’re on your own. We’ve got better things to do than cater to idiots.

Angelica, noun

As a noun, angelica refers to a native folkloric dance of a tentatively indigenous clan allegedly native to a small region of northeastern Alaska. The clan, the Alikoolinagihanicapatha, are known for little other than their dancing. And, apart from the one or two people who have either written or bothered to come and read this entry in The Words Project, the dances of Alikoolinagihanicapathans (as members of the Alikoolinagihanicapatha clan are known) are not known to anyone.

The angelica is a complicated dance. It has been described as resembling the movement that a large blob of Jello (at least thirteen packages’ worth) would make if it were sitting on a rubbery floor during a prolonged, violent earthquake measuring at least 10.3 on the Richter scale. Unfortunately, that description doesn’t do it justice. Angelica is much more wobbly, free-flowing and wide-ranging than that.

Angelica dance steps

Angelica dance steps

It is a difficult dance to master. Fortunately, Tuktovit*, putatively a folk activities coordinator at an Alikoolinagihanicapathan old folks’ home, has produced dance step diagrams for a number of different versions. The, by far, very simplest of them appears on this page. If you copy the diagram, enlarge it so the depicted feet are life-size, and place it on the floor, you should be able to dance an almost, but not quite passible angelica.

Of course, a true angelica dance is much more quivery and jerky than can be illustrated in a diagram. Do your best.

And, as we alluded to above, the version illustrated here is a vastly simplified variant of the dance. A professional Alikoolinagihanicapathan angelica dancer would be embarrassed to perform such rudimentary moves. This is why most Alikoolinagihanicapathan angelica dancers remain amateurs throughout their lives.

Angelica, verb

As a verb, angelica means simply to dance an angelica.

If you are angelicaing properly, an onlooker should see no hint whatsoever that you have any bones under your skin. This can be achieved by having all of your bones surgically removed. However, this is not recommended. Without a skeleton to keep things in place, all of your vital organs tend to collapse in on your center of gravity and exit through your anus shortly before it, too, collapses. Plus, walking will become somewhat difficult. Then again, it’s a price you might want to pay for your art.

Another way to achieve this affect is to become so obese that there is at least three feet of fat between every point on the outer layer of your skin and any bones underneath it. This is particularly difficult to achieve around the fingers, toes and skull. Copious consumption of excessively fatty foods is the key here. Again, do your best.

In addition to packing on the poundage almost to the point where you are visible to the naked eye from the International Space Station, to achieve the desired jiggling effect, you have to be careful not to allow any muscles to form in your body.

The problem with this second approach to achieving the perfect angelica-performing body is that ambulation of any kind becomes difficult, to say the least. Even saying the least becomes almost impossible, to say the least, as that much fat very effectively isolates your vocal cords from the outside world.

At that level of obesity, performing the dance requires the use of the heaviest of construction equipment to set you in motion. Be warned, however, that there is a danger that if you perform the angelica indoors at that weightiness you may crash through the floor. If so, there will likely be no lower floor up to the task of stopping you until you hit the bottom basement level. There, your inertia will likely initiate a 10.7 earthquake that will devastate all structures within a 27-mile radius. But, as we said, that’s the price you might need to pay for your art.

The good news is that all pools of Jello within that radius will put on an amazing angelica show for several minutes or more.


* Alikoolinagihanicapathans usually only have one name. They are a very poor people. Surnames are a luxury that can usually be afforded only by the upper one percent of them. And sometimes not even them.

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