Many believe that the Chotis dance is as typically from Madrid as the Puerta de Alcalá; however, few know that its origins are far distant from Madrid. It appears that this dance, as such, came from the region of Bohemia and etymologically the term “Chotis” is derived from the German “Schottisch” (Scottish), which makes reference to a central European dance. In fact, variations of this dance can be found in different cultures and not just European ones, since after it became popular in the 19th century, it crossed the Atlantic to America.

In Madrid, the chotis was danced for the first time in 1850 at the Royal Palace during a party organised by Queen Isabel II. This species of German polka called “Schottisch” was so successful and became so fashionable in the capital that the citizens of Madrid decided to make it their own. They gave it a more authentic, popular and cocky air, giving rise to the chotis as we know it today. The first one to play a chotis on a street organ was the Italian maestro Antonio Apruzzese.

The dance itself is quite curious: the woman slowly moves to make the man twist as if he was standing on a brick or a tile. First they turn to the left and, when the music changes, the start to turn to the right and so on… the man’s shoes must be fitted with sliding soles because if they are rubber ones… he doesn’t stand a chance.