Jan 6, 2008

Chicken Dance

Last night, we went for dinner at the house of one of O's cousins. The cousin's name is Juan, but they call him Paco (I have no idea why). After a nice meal of pork chops, choclo, potatoes, and a side of shredded cabbage on it's salty way to becoming sauerkraut, they cranked up the music and began to dance in the living room. They are all from the Tumbes area, which is right up north, only 40 minutes from the Ecuadorian border. The music was Ecuadorian, and it all sounded pretty much the same to me even though they played several different pieces.

One thing that I always notice about ethnic Peruvian dances is that they all resemble something from the animal kingdom, in particular, birds. And most notably, chickens. I may just have an overactive imagination. This is going to sound terrible, but Paco reminded me of "Panchito", the Mexican charro rooster of Walt Disney's "Three Caballeros" cartoon. Paco dances with his chest thrown out, sway-backed with the rear-end stuck out (I could imagine long tail feathers sweeping back and forth), and employs fast, fancy footwork in a crazy-legged roosterly way. To top it all off, the women dance putteringly around the rooster with tiny mincing steps with a shimmy of the shoulders, clucking away to the strutting gallito. At the end of one particular piece, half the men in the room cheered Paco, crying "Que viva el gallo!" (long live the rooster!) Heh, I knew it all along. I'm not the only one who's been envisioning the strut around the hen house. Clara Cluck is still Panchito's girlfriend in European Disney comics where she is also called Chiquita. According to the "The Panchito Song." Panchito has relatives in Peru, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador and even in Dallas, Texas. Maybe Paco is one of them!

The men in the room, however, had imagined that Paco resembled "Claudio", whom we know as "Foghorn Leghorn". I haven't figured out what Ms. Prissy's Spanish identity is. I do know that Tweety Bird is Piolin here in Peru, but Sylvester is still Silvestre.


Wooly Works said...

Do you remember how Oliver Heidenriech used to strut around? Mama always called him a banty rooster. Remember Hans Meyer and the way he danced like a lumbering bear? Such funny caricatures of people and their ways.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

I love people watching and you have just described it at its best. Did you manage to keep a straight face.

Rani said...

Tee hee hee! What a really interesting picture of an evening in Peru. I think that's really cool!

In Iceland, they will often sit down around the piano after dinner (and some drinky-poos) and sing a bunch of songs. I wish we did more of that here in the States.

Can you imagine? After a dinner party . . . putting on some square dance music or something and having everyone sing and dance?! They'd leave! (I'd stay!)

Wooly Works said...

I wish we would do more dancing and singing here in America as well. I think we've lost some of the fun of friendship and community gatherings that countries we see as "less developed" have retained through time. Right now, less development and less self consciousness sound really good to me.