I just had a discussion with a woman over the origins of the term; “Dancing up a storm.” She claims the phrase is of American Indian origin whereas I thought it might have something to do with medieval witchcraft beliefs. To be fair, on her side, I’ve never heard someone outside North America use the phrase so she could be right. To coin a phrase; what’s the straight dope on this?
The “up a storm” idiom isn’t limited to dancing. I’ve often heard “talking up a storm,” “cooking up a storm,” “writing up a storm,” and such. I couldn’t find anything about its origins, but the metaphor of doing something so enthusiastically that your actions resemble a storm is pretty clear. To speculate about Indians or witches doesn’t seem necessary.