A Philippines Kuratsa Invitation

Let’s Party

Last week, friends of ours invited us to their barangay (village) for their fiesta, or the celebration of their village’s patron saint. They invited us up for two days…to the fiesta dance party and again the following day for all the great the fiesta food. We declined to attend the dance the night before, mostly because there was too much distance between all the celebrating (the beer), and where we live. Also, when a foreigner shows up for a barangay dance night, it is not uncommon for the foreigner to be asked to participate in the fund rasing activities, or more specifically, the kuratsa dance. There are not many times these days that you’ll find me in a dancing mood, unless someone accidentally throws on some Van Halen at the right time…or something like that.

Let’s Kuratsa!

Though highly popular in Eastern Visayas, the kuratsa is also ‘native’ to almost all the Visayan Islands and there are different versions. The particular version that amuses me most is the Parayaw (showing-off to the point of attracting attention) which refers to the ingenious dance movements usually done by the male dancer to attract or get the attention of his female partner. This dance is likened to a very aggressive cockerel skirting closely with jealously, the hen of his choice. The woman would typically ignore the partner’s parayaw and will continue her dance steps making sure that she evades her partner’s advances. I call it the “Rooster or Chicken dance” to the amusement of the locals. Some older couples really know how to put it on and it can be rather comical and entertaining at times.

Here is a more traditional version of the dance: (watch for the “skirting” towards the end!)

I can’t say that I’ve never been asked to do the kuratsa, and on two separate occasions, I have declined. I’m not much of a dancer and besides, it takes a sufficient amount of liquid courage to get me to make a public spectacle of myself. Some day I will find myself in a position where I won’t be able to decline so easily, I’m sure of it. (I’d better learn this dance just in case!)

Dutch Courage?

Anyway, my friend seemed to have had plenty of liquid courage (dutch courage) the night before and “stole the show,” so he was told. So much so that when we arrived to eat the next day, he was none the worse for wear, and if I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought he was green from sea sickness. He swears that he will never dance again…well, maybe it was the amount of “courage” that he swore off, I’m not so sure. I do know this, I ate his fair share of food that day. I guess you could say I felt sorry for him and it was the neighborly thing to do!

My friend has the floor!

My friend has the floor!

The following video depicts how you should NOT do the kuratsa dance! Then again, what do foreigners know? In any case, the objective is to have a good time and one should hope to garner many donations for your dancing talent! (all proceeds go to the barangay of course)