felt for the birth of the Son of God, who came to take away, by his death, the sins of the world.
America was not the only country that had been influenced by Africa in dancing; From the Moors it was that Spain first received that dance now so peculiar to it, the Fandango, which is nothing else than the Chica, under a more 'decent' form, the climate and other circumstances not permitting the performance of this latter with all its native concomitants. The origin of this dance it is very difficult to discover; but every thing in it seems to be the effect of a burning climate, and ardent constitutions. To dance it publicly was not allowed this side the West Indies even the Congo Square business was suppressed at one time; 1843, says tradition.
In America, namely Louisiana, this dance was passionately admired among the Creoles (New Orleans), who enthusiastically adopted it on its introduction among them (around 1803). These Creole women would stand firmly in one place and Shimmy and Shake their booty all the while, undulating the body and handkerchief, held by the tip ends waving above her head. The male would move in the same way but with more aggression, showing his excitement and stamina, sorta moving in a stalking pattern, circling around her. The contortions of the encircling crowd were strange and terrible, the din was hideous. Even the musicians song was always a grossly personal satirical ballad like the Calenda, and the drums would be drumming away any thoughts of the day.
Carlos Blasis writes in 1830:
The Chica is danced to the sound of any instrument whatever, but to one certain kind of tune, which is in a manner consecrated to it, and of which the movement is extremely rapid. The woman holds one end of a handkerchief, or the two sides of her apron, and the chief art on her part consists in agitating the lower part of the loins, whilst the rest of the body remains almost motionless. A dancer now approaches her with a rapid bound, flies to her, retires, darts forward a-fresh, and appears to conjure her to yield to the emotions which she seems so forcibly to feel. When the Chica is danced in its most expressive character, there is in the gestures and movements of the two dancers, a certain appearance more easily understood than described.
The scene offers to the eye, all that is lascivious, all that is voluptuous. It is a kind of contest, wherein every trick of love, and every means of its triumph, are set in action. Fear, hope, disdain, tenderness, caprice, pleasure, refusals, flight, delirium, despair, all is there expressed, and the inhabitants of Paphos, would have honoured the inventor of it as a divinity. I will not attempt to say what impressions the sight of this dance must occasion, when executed with all the voluptuousness of which it is susceptible. It animates every feature, it awakens every sensibility, and would even fire the imagination of old age.
The Chica is now banished from the balls of the white women of South America, being far too offensive to decency; and is only sometimes performed in a few circles, where the small number of spectators encourage the dancer. At Cairo, where there are no theatres, there are a sort of actors, or leapers, who go about to private houses, and represent various scenic performances, wherein the most licentious and obscene attitudes bear a strong resemblance to the Chica, and the ancient mimics. Many of the Greek and Roman dances may be compared to the Chica and Fandango, and especially those practised at the time of the decline of dancing in both nations, when this art naturally became an object of contempt among men of taste and morality.
I am almost inclined to believe that the Chica owes its origin to some of the ancient dances. Greece, so fertile in productions of every kind, and which gave birth to Socrates and Diogenes, Phocion, and Alcibiades, Homer, and Aristophanes, Agoracrites, Cleophanes, Callipides, all of most extraordinary, but opposite, talents, Greece, I think the most likely nation to have created this voluptuous dance. The dance of the Angrismene, usually performed at festivals in honour of Venus, and still very common among the modern Greeks, may bear me out in my opinion. ... END.