Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BEFORE THE CHA CHA, THERE WAS THE CHOTIS


This decal on this person's car reminded me of a dance that was once well-known in the Marianas during Spanish times called the Chotis.   Other Chamorros pronounced it Sotis.

I don't know if this decal is just a coincidence, or if there might be a family better-known-as the Familian Chotes/Chotis.

Chamorros adopted several European dances which they learned from Spaniards, Latin Americans, Filipinos and the British/American whalers.

One of them was the Chotis.  It was originally popular in Vienna (Austria) and thought to be of Scottish ("Schottisch" in German) origin.  When it got to Spain, Schottisch became Chotis.

From Spain it ended up in the Philippines where it underwent a Filipino transformation.  I suspect that the Filipino version of the Chotis is what our great-grandparents ended up dancing here.  I also wouldn't be surprised if the dance morphed a little into something different, however slightly, when our people danced it.



This particular performance features three women, but that doesn't necessarily mean only women danced it in the Marianas.

For the sake of comparison, here's how it's danced in Spain.  Note the differences.


Too bad we have no footage of Chamorros dancing the Chotis/Sotis back in the day.

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