(Version on the video is the popular Kuratsa Binisaya from Tacloban Leyte' found on the book Philippine Folk Dances V.1 by Francisa Reyes-Aquino but the music used is the Kuratsa Bago (from Bago City, Negros Occidental, notation foun in the "Visayan Folk Dances V1" by Libertad Fajardo)
The Kuratsa is highly favored by the Visayan people especially the Waray people of the Eastern Visayan region in the Philippines. Strictly speaking, only one couple dance it at a time. Believed to be a Mexican import (supposedly from La Cucaracha dance typical to Monterrey region of Mexico)- the Kuratsa is however, very different in the manner of execution than the Mexican counterpart. Even the "basic" Kuratsa music is not based on Mexican or even Spanish melodies.
Philippine dance researchers, however, point either to the "Kigal" and the "Bikal" as the 'ascendant' of the Kuratsa. The Kigal (spelled "Quigal" in early Spanish writings on Samar culture and lifeways) is a sort battle-of-sexes couple dance that imitate mating birds. The Kigal is in fact called by another name: Binanug or Kiglun (Kigalun?) that's according to a 17th century Samarnon dictionary by Jesuit missionary to Samar, Fr. Alcazar. It is interesting that Banug uis the Waray word for the hawk.
The Bikal is rather believed to be the fore runner of the Waray Balitaw because of the strict emphasis on "joust" of impromptu songs interspersed with dancing. The bikal is survived by the Ismaylingay and many versions of this art is preserved by aging "magsiriday" in Samar and to a lesser extent Leyte.
The Kigal dance step called 'sabay' is in fact very similar to the Kuratsa dance step called 'dagit' or when more daring the 'sagparak'. Dagit means swoop while sagparak is descriptive of a heated 'bulang' (cockfight). The block and chase portion of the Kuratsa (called 'palanat') is never seen in the Mexican social dance La Cucaracha but is very common among Samar 'amenudo' (or couple dances) like the Ismaylingay, Amoracion, Alimukon, Kuradang and Pantomina.
Popular versions of this dance exist in Samar can be classified as the Kuratsa Menor (the usual favorite) and the many versions of the daring Kuratsa Mayor. New genres of Kuratsa evolved as a result of necessity, like-as the name implies- Kuratsa kanan Kadam-an and a very funny Kuratsa nga Pinayungan appropriate for rainy days.
Partners join inside hands, free hands down at the sides. Starting with the R foot, take three steps forward (cts 1,2,3). Put feet together and bow to partner or audience (ct 1).....[2M]
Dancers separate about six feet apart. The last two counts of the music are not played until the partners are in their proper places.
Watch out for my upcoming videos of the following dances:
Maramyon (Leyte version)
Pantomina de Samar
Jota han Kalipay
La Jota Samareña
Ingkoy-ingkoy (Samar version)
Pastores (Samar version)
Estudiantina (Capul version)
Panderetas (Tanza, Ilo-ilo version)
Engañosa (Pandangyado Mayor)
Pandangyado Cariñosa (Samar)
Pag-aring (Basey, Samar)
Jota Paloana (La Jota Navarra)
Paso Doble (Parañaque version)
Chotis Dingreña (Ilocano)
Flaggey Libon (T'boli)
Karal Kafi (Bilaan)
Ati-ati sa Bukid (Cuyo, Palawan)
Kadal Onuk (T'boli Bird Dance)
Inday na Kunday (Southern Leyte)
Silong sa Ganding
Kandalamat sa Gandingan
Maong a Lalong
Buhay sa Bukid
Tacon y Punta Danza