The Spanish dance Jota came to be in the 1700's and is the National folk dance of Aragon, Spain. This is probaby the most traditional dance of Spain. It is a quick Spanish dance in 3/8 time. The "Jota of Aragón" is the oldest of the styles and corresponds with the ancient carols, which in Chaucer's time meant a dance as well as a song. Funerals and wakes also afford opportunities for the dance, the Jota, for instance, is often performed in watching the dead.
At the feast of La Virgin del Pilar, the Jota is in great favor with the crowd which assembles in Sargasso from outlying parts. The verses in the improvised couplets are not always in true metre, the performers not being very particular. They
make up for the loss of a syllable or two in one line by adding it to the next, or they clap their hands, twang the guitar string, or stamp their feet to cover the defect. The Aragonese in their pride in the dance say that a pretty girl dancing the Jota sends an arrow into every heart by each one of her movements. Sometimes the couples of the Jota indulge in a satirical vein.
Some Jota's are:
* The Jota of Alcañiz is also relatively rapid with cheers, jumps and leaps and Batudas or hitting the legs while jumping.
* The Jota of Albalate is similar to that of the Alcañiz but is done much slower and not as much movement.
* The Jotas of Calanda and Andorra is also similar but much more stately and starts off slower in pace and picks up speed with a style of a Valencian dance.
* The Jota of Huesca is not as fast as the Zaragoza but is very energetic as well with many French influences throughout the dance and uses some tricky step patterns.
* The Zaragoza Jota is the most exuberant of all the Jotas. It is much more diverse than the others and vary considerably, there are no 'punteados steps', the speed varies intermittently and occasionally raising the legs, Kneels and the arms are not used.
* Jota de la vendimia is a 'wine harvest dance' from Ciudad Real, Spain. The guitar, bandurria and percussion may accompany the dancers.
There are many versions of the Jota dance from Spain, not just the ones above and all from her former colonies... Jota Aragonesa, Jota Manileña, Jota Caviteña, etc. Not all Jota's are strictly danced only in Spain, other countries may have the Jota dance in their répertoire of dances.